COVID-19’s extended presence in the U.S. is once again impacting release dates as the virus’s resurgence is causing studios to once again push the release dates for their films. Warner Bros. has announced the second round of schedule changes including pushing Christopher Nolan’s Tenet back two weeks to July 31 and Wonder Woman 1984 from Aug. 14 to Oct. 2.
It isn’t all bad news, however. WB also moved Legendary’s Godzilla vs. Kong from Nov. 20 this year to Matrix 4‘s May 21, 2021 date (the latter of which will now debut April 1, 2022). That opened up the Nov. 20 weekend for another blockbuster, and James Bond is swooping to the rescue. The master spy’s next film, No Time to Die, had been delayed from releasing this past April to Nov. 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. However, MGM has now bumped it forward five days to Nov. 20 in the US and Nov. 12 in the UK. This is, of course, assuming theaters are open in November.
That seems to be a safe bet considering Tenet was only delayed two weeks. The film has long been the litmus test for a return to theaters, with Nolan’s insistence that his films are meant to be watched on film on big screens and the industry’s hope that the U.S. is ready to return come July. The push back even just two weeks is a philosophical blow for the industry, though WB does plan to re-release Inception for its 10th anniversary to theaters in the place of Tenet to test the waters.
This probably isn’t the end of rescheduling. Disney has Mulan set for July 24, which would put it dangerously close to Tenet, although the two films would draw different audiences. Disney once again shifting its dates would cause major ripple effects thanks to its packed slate of blockbusters and the strength of its content to dominate whatever weekend it opens on.
Many studios are still waiting for New York to reopen to help with the box office, but July still seems to be the month where Hollywood is set to pull the trigger on opening films. Unhinged is set to open on July 1, and Sony/Tristar has rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery still landing on July 10. It’s all up in the air, though, as COVID-19 cases continue to grow in some states and theaters may be forced back into closure.