'Tenet’ Will Now Premiere Overseas Prior to U.S. Release (UPDATE)

The studio announced the move Thursday, after U.S. states reported a surge in COVID-19 infections.

'Tenet' shoot

Image via Getty/Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times

'Tenet' shoot

UPDATED 7/27, 1:15 p.m. ET: Warner Bros.’ new plan for Tenet is an overseas debut in one month, on Wednesday, Aug. 26. Christopher Nolan’s latest will hit select American cities on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Some of the 70 territories that will get to see the film in August include the U.K., Canada, France, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Italy. There’s no date for China yet.

Varietycalls the move “a surprising break from tradition since North America is the world’s biggest film market and remains pivotal for major movies to turn a profit.” The publication also notes that “traditionally, a staggered rollout would be a risky proposition for a movie like Tenet.” Risks include spoilers, piracy, and general spillage about the plot for Nolan’s characteristically, adamantly hush-hush project. 

July 20 saw the third delay for Tenet, originally slated for July 17.

You can listen to Complex's Watch Less crew discuss the delay of Tenet below.

UPDATED 7/20, 12:49 p.m. ET: Christopher Nolan's Tenet has delayed its August release due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Per The Hollywood Reporter:

As Hollywood grapples with a new normal brought on by the pandemic, the $200 million tentpole is no longer expected to get a conventional release and is likely to open first in overseas markets. And in the U.S., it could go out first in cities where cinemas can safely reopen, versus nationwide. Warners is expected to announce its new plan in the coming days.

See original story from 6/25/2020 below.

Audiences will have to wait a little longer to see Christopher Nolan's action thriller Tenet.

Warner Bros. announced Thursday that the highly anticipated film will hit U.S. theaters in mid-August, rather than late July. As pointed out by to The Hollywood Reporter, the news comes after multiple states—including Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida—reported alarming spikes in coronavirus cases. In light of the surges, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he was pulling movie theaters from the list of businesses that are allowed to reopen under Phase 4. Officials in Los Angeles, the largest moviegoing market in the country, have yet to announce when theaters will resume business, leading many studios to reconsider scheduled release dates.

Tenet was originally set to premiere on July 17, but was pushed back to July 31 to give U.S. theaters time to reopen. Warner Bros. now says the film will drop on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

"Warner Bros. is committed to bringing Tenet to audiences in theaters, on the big screen, when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it’s time," a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement. "In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. 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."

Tenet features an ensemble cast lead by John David Washington. Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Kenneth Branagh also appear in the film. Nolan has kept plot details to a minimum, but recently told Total Film magazine that his intention was to smash audience's expectations.

"It’s a film of great ambition and great scale that takes a genre, namely the spy film, and tries to take it into some new territory, and tries to take the audience on a ride they might not have had before, and might not be expecting. We’re looking at first and foremost giving the audience an incredible ride in the spy movie genre, but using the audience’s facility with following the conventions of that genre to push it into some interesting and unexpected territory."

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