Tenet and Mulan release dates get pushed back (again)

Disney's MULANMulan (Yifei Liu)Photo: Film Frame© 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Disney's MULANMulan (Yifei Liu)Photo: Film Frame© 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Warner Bros. and Disney have pushed back the release dates for Tenet and Mulan, respectively, yet again. Here’s what we know.

With cities around the globe beginning to reopen in spite of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis, movie theaters are attempting to welcome guests back — but if recent backlash to their reopening policies is anything to go by, it may be a while before many moviegoers feel comfortable visiting a theater again, especially in places where the number of COVID-19 cases is still on the rise.

And as the situation continues to evolve, film studios are reevaluating the release dates for their rescheduled blockbusters — particularly the ones that were slated to arrive this summer. Wonder Woman: 1984 was already bumped from August back to October, and now Christopher Nolan’s much-anticipated Tenet has been delayed again, this time moving from July 31 to August 12.

“Warner Bros. is committed to bringing Tenet to audiences in theaters, on the big screen, when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it’s time,” a Warner Bros. Studios spokesperson told Entertainment Weekly. “In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. We are choosing to open the movie mid-week to allow audiences to discover the film in their own time, and we plan to play longer, over an extended play period far beyond the norm, to develop a very different yet successful release strategy.”

And Warner Bros. isn’t the only studio that’s been forced to adapt to the new normal, or that’s had to reconsider when and how to release new films. In fact, it’s seeming more and more like no studio wants to be the first to release a big blockbuster, just in case it’s too soon — after all, if audiences aren’t ready, an otherwise highly anticipated film may just flop at the box office.

Not long after Warner Bros. announced Tenet‘s delay, Disney revealed that the release date for its live-action Mulan would also be pushed back, marking the second delay the film has seen this year. Originally slated for release this spring, Mulan was pushed back to July when the crisis began and is now scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 24.

Whether these new release dates will stick remains to be seen, but it certainly seems that it could be a while before anyone can enjoy a film in theaters again. One thing is for certain, though: Safety is the most important concern right now.

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When do you think is the right time for studios to begin releasing films in theaters again? Do you prefer the straight-to-VOD format instead? Sound off in the comments below.