Warner Bros. has shifted the release dates for a number of its upcoming tentpole films, including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which the director had hoped would signal the wider reopening for movie theaters across the country.
In addition to Tenet, Warner Bros. has moved some of its other high-profile releases: Wonder Woman 1984 (again), Godzilla vs. Kong, and Matrix 4.
The shifts in release dates come as uncertainly around the reopening of the world economy in light of the continuing Coronavirus pandemic. While numerous states across the US have begun to slowly reopen their economies, resurgences of the disease highlight the fact that the disease remains a key threat, and that businesses that see people in close proximity with one another — such as movie theaters — might still be unsafe.
Nolan’s Tenet, a time-bending spy thriller, was seen as the film to signal the reopening of the film industry, and it was set to debut in theaters on July 17th. It’s now been bumped back two weeks to July 31st. However, Warner Bros. is sticking another Nolan film back in theaters: Inception will be rereleased to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Deadline notes that the delay will give the studio more time to finalize Tenet‘s IMAX print, and that those theatergoers who venture out will get a special look at the upcoming film.
Other Warner Bros. films are getting shuffled around as well. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman sequel was supposed to hit theaters on August 14th (already delayed from its original November 2019, December 2019, and June 2020 release dates), but has now been rescheduled for October 2nd.
Godzilla vs. Kong, which was supposed to debut on November 19th, has been shifted to May 21st, 2021, and the upcoming Matrix 4 will now debut on April 1st, 2022 (originally May 21st, 2021.) Notably, Warner Bros. hasn’t moved its release date for its upcoming adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. It’s been scheduled to hit theaters on December 18th, 2020.
It remains to be seen if some other high-profile films, like Mulan (July 24th, 2020), or The New Mutants (August 28th, 2020) will retain their release dates.
The moves are par for the course at this point in 2020. At the height of the pandemic, a number of movies saw their theatrical releases delayed (Fast & Furious 9, and A Quiet Place Part 2, Mulan, and Black Widow), or sent straight to video on demand or streaming (like Bloodshot, Onward, Birds of Prey, The Invisible Man, and others.)