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Warner Bros bump 'Tenet' indefinitely, cinema chains panic

20-Jul-2020 • No Time To Die

In a sign of things to come for other franchises, Warner Bros have finally pulled their head out of the sand and delayed the release of 'Tenet' with no firm plans on what its eventual release will look like. It came after a few two-week bumps down the calendar. Director Christopher Nolan, whose tone-deaf approach to 'Tenet's hell-or-high-water release, will no doubt be disappointed, but the studio controls the distribution (after all, they are the ones on the hook for the $200m production).

In a statement issued by Warner Bros, the studio dropped the bombshell that they may be considering alternatives to the 'day & date' approach which has been popular in recent years. “We will share a new 2020 release date imminently for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature. We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that.”

Launching films in major US cities before rolling out to the rest of the country over a period of weeks and months was how the cinema distribution model used to operate. Early Bond films such as 'Dr. No' and 'From Russia With Love' were treated this way by United Artists.

The statement also implies that 'Tenet' could be released in specific foreign markets that have wider cinema openings before the US. How that affects piracy remains to be seen, as the industry shift to 'day & date' was a mechanism to try and combat bootlegging.

WB also bumped 'The Conjuring 3' to June 4th, 2021, a week before Universal's big June 11th, 2021 launch of 'Jurassic World: Dominion' (which, as MI6 reported last week, could become the new date for 'No Time To Die').

Cinema chain owners, who were relying on tent pole releases such as 'Tenet' and Dinsey's 'Mulan' to reopen, were understandably panicked by the news today.

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