The Tenet release roller coaster may finally be coming to an end. Warner Bros. has announced that the film will receive a staggered release of sorts, with international markets receiving the film before the U.S. does. The movie will open beginning Aug. 26 in 70 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom. A release in China is still uncertain. Then on Sept. 3, the film will open in select U.S. cities, though there is no word on what those cities are.
This will once again place Tenet at the forefront of the American film industry after Disney recently rescheduled Mulan to an undetermined date. The movie has routinely held this role and Warner Bros. has played a game of chicken with the pandemic. Even as this is written, a September opening seems tenuous with COVID-19 cases still climbing around the country.
The international release will also cause problems for WB as piracy is a massive concern for big movies like this that don’t get theatrical releases at the same time. Tenet‘s story and plot also happen to be one of the most closely guarded secrets in Hollywood, and spreading the release out will definitely ruin that aspect of the film as well. Still, WB must see the rewards now outweighing the risks after keeping its $200 million blockbuster on the shelf for so long.
The question will become if other studios follow along with this plan. As more international markets open up as their countries do a better job of handling COVID-19, we could see more films receive international releases while U.S. theaters are still closed down. Other studios with less determined directors may also begin moving content to digital platforms if they must, though Disney’s lack of movement on The New Mutants points to their not budging on that aspect either.