The latest delay of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is a real blow to movie theater owners the world over. Previously scheduled to release on July 17 and then July 31, the film finally abandoned its Aug. 12 date earlier this week. Even so, many (including us) noted that Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich’s language left the possibility for a staggered international release wide open, saying the studio would not treat Tenet like “a traditional global day-and-date release.”
It appears they mean it, as per a new report from Variety which confirms the studio is currently speaking with cinema owners in the United Kingdom, France, and Spain for a release as soon as the end of August. According to the trade, plans are still in flux, especially as a month of new data on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is imminent, but right now the studio is telling cinemas to plan on an Aug. 26 to 28 launch date for the Christopher Nolan epic.
The news follows on the heels of THR previously reporting with anonymous sources that the studio was looking at a late August launch while gearing the movie up for a bow in the U.S. in September. Variety’s sources make no mention of the U.S., however they state that the studio is also looking to open in Asian markets soon. Indeed, one anonymous exhibitor noted that the plan for a staggered release apparently rests on China recently reopening movie theaters and seeing success with Train to Busan Presents Peninsula.
However, this opens up a host of other questions, including the fact that China has put a new requirement on movies opening in theaters: they must be two hours or less. Tenet, meanwhile, is estimated to clock in at around two hours and 30 minutes. That makes the Chinese market still a mystery for the Nolan film. With that said, the bitter math about opening it in Europe is clearer, albeit sobering.