Those hotly anticipating Christopher Nolan's thriller Tenet were disappointed when the film was recently pulled from its scheduled release date with no new date fixed. But according to a report by Variety, the lack of a release date only applies to American theaters, and Warner Bros. is still planning to launch the film in international cinemas around late august. This lines up with a previous statement made by Warner Bros. Chairman Toby Emmerich.
"We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that,"
The report states that exhibitors in the U.K., France, and Spain have been told by the studio to plan for an Aug. 26-28 launch. Although a definite date has not been set in stone, sources indicate the negotiations are moving forward positively. Asia is another market that will likely get an early release for Tenet, with a fixed date expected to arrive in the next few days.
So why are international markets getting to see a Hollywood blockbuster ahead of America? In the new global market, oftentimes the majority of box-office earning of a big-budget Hollywood film came from international regions. Then there is also the fact that at the moment, international theaters are seeing much more activity than those in the States.
Most recently, the sequel to Korean super hit movie Train to Busan, named Peninsula, debuted in the country's theaters and managed a very healthy $20.8 million debut across four markets. That is the kind of business that Hollywood studios desperately need at the moment, even if it means other countries get to watch Tenet before America.
Movies getting released in international theaters ahead of their U.S. debut is not a new trend. The difference is, in the past, the delay in release was usually by a couple of weeks at most. This time, however, the delay in getting Tenet into American theaters could be much longer, with some experts estimating that it could take months for cinema chains to fully open, while others fear it could take a full year.
Under such circumstances, the only two options left for Warner Bros. to consider are releasing Tenet internationally first, or sending the film to streaming with video on demand. Nolan has been fiercely adamant in maintaining that his movie is meant to be seen on the big screen, and the CEO of AT&T, the parent company behind WarnerMedia, has also declared that Tenet will not be going the VOD route.
If Tenet does release in Europe and Asia early, American fans will have to stay away from the deluge of film spoilers that are sure to follow on social media and fan forums.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, Tenet stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branaugh, Dimple Kapadia, Martin Donovan, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Himesh Patel, Clémence Poésy, Denzil Smith and Michael Caine. Currently, Tenet has no release date in the U.S. This news was first reported at Variety.