The nationwide debut of “Tenet,” the film many U.S. movie theaters had centered their reopenings after coronavirus-closures around, is being pushed back to Aug. 12, its studio said Thursday night.
The espionage thriller starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki had been scheduled to open July 17 and was later delayed to July 31.
“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 spokesperson for the studio said in a statement Thursday night.
“In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release,” the spokesperson said. “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.”
News of the delay comes as the United States is experiening a surge in coronavirus infections. On Wednesday, the nation reported its single highest day total of new coronavirus cases, according to a tally by NBC News. Many Southern and Western states have seen a resurgence in the virus after relaxing stay-at-home orders around Memorial Day.
AMC Theaters, the largest theater chain in the nation, said in early June that it planned to reopen all its locations in time to show “Tenet” on July 17.
Competitor Cinemark also planned to reopen its 345 theaters in time for “Tenet” as well. It’s not clear if the theaters will change those plans.
The theaters had planned social distancing, including limited capacity.