Movie Theater Owners Expect 90 Percent Opening in Time for Tenet Premiere

Though the entertainment industry is still in a state of flux and uncertainty due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some are starting to have hope. Despite studios abandoning the summer movie season almost entirely, National Association of Theatre Owners is optimistic that it will at least partially get to happen. Business Insider reports that a representative for the organization "expects 90% of the global theatrical market to be open" in time for the release of Christopher Nolan's new film, Tenet. The new movie by the Academy Award nominee is one of the few films to never abandon its original release date.

Despite some theaters opening up over the past few weeks, it remains unclear when some of the biggest theater chains in the United States will open back up. As of last week Regal Cinemas announced that they "have not made a decision when to reopen," with AMC Theatres expressing similar concerns. In an SEC filing the company stated: "We believe, but cannot guarantee, that the exhibition industry will ultimately rebound and benefit from pent-up social demand for out-of-home entertainment, as government restrictions are lifted and home sheltering subsides."

On the flip side of this is Cinemark Theaters who have announced their four-phase plan to re-open their theaters and remain confident Tenet will be released when their doors are open. Their plan has been met with criticism though as they won't be requiring guests to wear masks despite limiting occupancy to 50%.

"The reality is I don't think we're going to be able to get into a full-on rhythm again of product cycles and all that we had prior to COVID-19 until 2022," CEO Mark Zoradi told Wall Street analysts on the company's earnings call this week. "That's more production-related than our operation-related because as studios have had to adapt to not being able to do filming and do post-production, they've had to move their schedules. Therefore, we're going to adapt as well."

Luckily for Warner Bros. Pictures, they've got an ace up their sleeve in the event that theaters and communities are not in a place to re-open for Tenet's release. The new movie has been scheduled for release on July 17 since last year, but the most recent trailer and promotions for the film have removed that date entirely, broadcasting that the film will simply be "coming to theaters." Since that time the date has been restored to the social media pages for the movie, making its July debut seem even more likely.


Written and directed by Nolan the film stars John David Washington and also includes Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, with Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.