Source: ©2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment / Melinda Sue Gordon


Warner Bros said on Monday (July 27) it will release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in more than 70 countries starting on Aug 26 including the UK, two weeks ahead of a select US release.

The new plan, hatched after the studio temporarily pulled the sci-fi thriller from the US calendar last week amid rising Covid infections, will come as a relief to international exhibitors, many of whom have reopened their sites across parts of Europe and Asia and are in urgent need of new content.

Tenet will open in UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and Spain, among others (see box below).

The sci-fi thriller starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kenneth Branagh will launch in select cities in the US on September 3 in time for the Labor Day holiday weekend (September 4-7).

At time of writing there was no mention of Tenet in China, although it is understood specific timing on a China release will be announced at a later date. Cinemas in the world’s second largest market opened across most of the country at the weekend and insiders said they were encouraged by the results.

Screen understands from sources that given the high infection rate in California, Texas and Florida and other regions, studio heads have reconciled themselves to not immediately releasing in California, Los Angeles, New York, and other locales while cinemas remain closed.

Observers have noted the unorthodox strategy fits unprecedented times. Warner Bros brass knew without US cinemas fully reopened they had to steer away from a global day-and-date release and ensure open US markets followed international as soon as possible to mitigate the impact of piracy.

Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich, head of international distribution Andrew Cripps and their teams will also have wanted to honour the wishes of Nolan, an outspoken champion of the theatrical experience with whom they have enjoyed a lucrative relationship for years. 

The studio also announced it will release Inception 10th Anniversary Event on August 21.

At time of writing Mulan was still off the calendar and it remained to be seen what course of action Disney executives will take.

On Monday the National Association of Theatre Owners said cinema-goers in the US have joined its #SaveYourCinema campaign and sent more than 200,000 letters to Congress in support of further relief measures for cinemas.

Launched in mid-July, the campaign urges Congress to enact the RESTART Act, which will give cinemas access to partially forgivable seven-year loans covering six months of expenses. The campaign also presses the Treasury and the Federal Reserve to implement further relief programmes under the CARES Act that help cinemas.

Wednesday, August 26: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, UK

Thursday, August 27: Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Lebanon, Malaysia, Middle East, New Zealand, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE

Friday, August 28: East Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Vietnam

Thursday, September 3: US, Kuwait, Qatar.

September 10: Azerbaijan, CIS others, Kazakhstan, Russia

September 17: Cyprus

September 18: Japan

Dates TBD: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Uruguay, Venezuela.