Returning to re-opened movie theaters amid a surge in COVID-19 cases is a "high-risk situation," admit Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who won't be stepping foot into a theater for "the foreseeable future." Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan long planned for Tenet to welcome back moviegoers on July 17, but the twisty thriller was delayed until July 31 and then August 12 amid a spike in cases also expected to derail Disney's plans to launch its live-action Mulan remake — already postponed from March 27 to July 24 — as the first major film released into theaters following months-long theater closures caused by coronavirus.
Asked if reopening theaters in time for Tenet is "too optimistic," Joe Russo told Kevin McCarthy it's a "complicated question."
"I think everyone has a different threshold for risk, it seems, in the country right now. I think that really depends what your threshold for risk is, but certainly being in an enclosed space is a high-risk situation," the Extraction producer said in a virtual interview. "So there's the question of whether we want that to happen, which we do, but whether that's practical and safe and whether we can recommend it, which I don't think we could. Just from the way that I'm approaching the pandemic with my family is we're very conservative about it."
Russo continued, "Look, if you go back and look at the Spanish flu, it was a two or three-year period. I think with technology and modern science, we maybe can compress that timeframe, but it's going to be a year or two until things, I think, turn back to normal."
Admitting he's "desperate" for the return of the theatrical experience, Anthony Russo added the pandemic has "worn on people in many different ways, the sort of limitations that we've all been living through."
"But I do think, at the end of the day, where are you gonna put the risk? I think there are more immediate places to put the risk in terms of human connection than a theater full of strangers, unfortunately," he said. "It's a very personal question, and it depends on people's individual circumstances, but unfortunately, I don't see myself getting into a theater in the foreseeable future."
Referring to pent up demand for Tenet, Joe added, "I think if they do release it then, I think plenty of people will show up."
Tenet is now scheduled to release only in theaters August 12. The Russos-produced Extraction, led by their Avengers star Chris Hemsworth, is now streaming on Netflix.
Photo credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images