The big picture: Warner Bros. has pushed back two of its biggest upcoming films in a last minute gamble. Christopher Nolan’s new thriller Tenet has been delayed by two weeks from July 17 to July 31, while Wonder Woman has been pushed by two months and will debut on October 2.
Tenet, a $200 million investment, was going to be the first major cinema release in months. Nolan was hoping it would convince cinemas to reopen and end the current hiatus, and Warner Bros. stood firm on the July 17 release date for months. Now Disney’s live-action Mulan will take first place on July 24, and one can’t help but wonder if that was Warner Bros. plan. If the first big release is successful then it could convince more cinemas to open soon after, but on the other hand, if cinemas become a hotbed for coronavirus transmission then they’ll all be shut again.
"We’re especially thrilled, in this complex and rapidly changing environment, to be bringing Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, a global tentpole of jaw-dropping size, scope and scale, to theaters around the world on July 31," Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, told Variety. "It’s been longer than any of us could’ve imagined since we’ve seen a movie on the big screen, and to acknowledge Chris’ fans as we count down to Tenet’s opening day, we are also excited to offer his masterpiece Inception in theaters for its 10th anniversary on July 17."
Presumably, theaters will provide free tickets to a showing of Inception for anyone that booked a seat for Tenet on July 17, but this seems to be up to individual theaters.
Wonder Woman 1984 has had a more tenuous release schedule than Tenet owing to its smaller nature, and the latest delay was announced in a tweet. The film was originally going to release on June 5 and had been delayed to August 14, but Warner Bros. believes that’s still too risky for the film. By early October, however, even if things haven’t improved, at least the status quo will be sufficiently established to make informed business decisions.