The studio said Monday that the $200 million thriller will not make its August release date. However, unlike past announcements, Warner Bros. did not announce a new target date this time.
The sci-fi thriller, which stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, was set to be released on Wednesday, Aug. 12. This came after the film was initially moved from July 17 to July 31 due to the novel virus.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the studio said a new 2020 release date would be imminent. It may be a much different rollout, with the film opening in staggered international release.
“We are not treating ‘Tenet’ like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that,” Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, Toby Emmerich, said.
Emmerich said the pandemic’s spread has forced the studio to reevaluate its plans. Warner Bros. also shifted the horror sequel “The Conjuring 3″ from Sept. 11 to June 4, 2021.
“Our goals throughout this process have been to ensure the highest odds of success for our films while also being ready to support our theater partners with new content as soon as they could safely reopen,” said Emmerich. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from exhibitors and remain steadfast in our commitment to the theatrical experience around the world.”
Other films have planned their releases partially around the launch of “Tenet.” Walt Disney Co.’s “Mulan” remains scheduled for theatrical release on Aug. 21.
While plot details for “Tenet” are scarce, Nolan — the director behind acclaimed movies like “The Dark Knight” and “Dunkirk” — has made a name for himself by rejecting CGI where most directors would include it.
In May, Nolan revealed that a major stunt, involving the destruction of a 747 in an airport hanger, was done with practical effects rather than CGI. In other words, he really destroyed a plane for “Tenet.”
“I planned to do it using miniatures and set-piece builds and a combination of visual effects and all the rest,” Nolan told Total Film (via Gamesradar).
However, once the filmmaker did some scouting and found a massive array of old planes in Victorville, Calif., he got an idea.
“We started to run the numbers. … It became apparent that it would actually be more efficient to buy a real plane of the real size, and perform this sequence for real in camera, rather than build miniatures or go the CG route,” he said.
Movie theaters remain in a precarious limbo. Without new releases, U.S. indoor theaters and drive-ins that are open have played mostly older films and a smattering of smaller new releases.
Before the recent spike in the coronavirus crisis, theater chains have sought to assure moviegoers with protocols like limiting theaters to between 25 and 50 percent capacity and cleaning seats in between showings.
But months of closed theaters and no new product has put enormous pressure on an already stressed business. AMC Theaters, the world’s largest chain, recently reached a debt deal to remain solvent.
AMC has been aiming to reopen most locations July 30. Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas, had set July 31 for its reopening.
Fox News’ Tyler McCarthy and The Associated Press contributed to this report