LOS ANGELES — With reported cases of the coronavirus surging, Warner Bros. on Thursday postponed the release of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” further delaying Hollywood’s summer kickoff.
The sci-fi thriller starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson will move from July 31 to Aug. 12, a Wednesday. In a statement, the studio stressed the need for flexibility.
“We are choosing to open the movie mid-week to allow audiences to discover the film in their own time, and we plan to play longer, over an extended play period far beyond the norm, to develop a very different yet successful release strategy,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement.
Movie theaters had been pinning their hopes on the film as a major July release that could bring audiences back to theaters.
Warner Bros. had planned to re-release Nolan’s 2010 blockbuster “Inception” in early July as a way to lead in to “Tenet.” “Inception” will now open on July 31, the studio said.
Movie theater chains had planned the widespread reopening of cinemas partially around the return of new releases like “Tenet” and Disney’s “Mulan.” The latter is currently scheduled for July 24 but it, too, is widely expected to be postponed again. On Wednesday, Disneyland in California also pushed back its reopening.
With reported COVID-19 cases surging in Texas, Arizona, Florida and elsewhere, the earlier plans for a nationwide mid-July cinema restart became uncertain. On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York would delay reopening cinemas while it continued to research the safety of indoor, air-conditioned venues.