Warner Bros. Pictures is finally announcing release date changes for its major tentpole films, in light of the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19. With theaters all across the globe closing their doors for the forseeable future, Warner Bros. has been forced to bump major blockbusters like Wonder Woman 1984 and Scooby-Doo prequel SCOOB! to later dates. However, there is also some good news to go with the new wave of disappointing delays: a new report from Deadline states that Christopher Nolan's new sci-fi actioner Tenet will be holding firm to its original July 17th release, "in anticipation that the global theatrical marketplace will be well by then."
That announcement seems to reveal the kinds of estimates that Warner Bros. (and perhaps the larger studio industry) seems to be working off of. Wonder Woman 1984 was set to debut on June 5th, and Tenet is still arriving on July 17; clearly Hollywood is expecting to get back to business summer in that mid-summer frame.
China was of course the first to suffer the massive wave of COVID-19 infections, as has been digging itself out of the pandemic since the end of last year. As of today, China is re-opening its cinemas for the first time in months, signaling a timeline that would indeed put the US movie theater industry to get back on track by mid-summer.
However, any dip into the current news cycle inevitably creates doubt about what will truly be the timeline of America's battle with the coronavirus pandemic. Some project the lockdowns and economic impact can start to be reversed in weeks; other analyst project the US could be on the worst trajectory of any civilized nation when it comes to response to the pandemic. Seasonal factors also come into play: by mid-summer COVID-19 infections could finally be receding, but some experts warn that it will only be a temporary reprieve, and that by mid-fall lockdowns (and subsequently theater shutdowns) could happen all over again.
At this rate, taking in all the information currently available, there's a good chance a film like Tenet could end up being one of the only big blockbuster theatrical releases to come out in the rest of 2020.
Tenent is still scheduled for July 17th.