As anticipated (see: Warner Bros. pulls plug on Tenet August 12 release, no 2020 release date announced), Regal Cinemas has delayed opening on July 31. Like Warner Bros. initially decided with Tenet, they haven’t set a specific date yet.
While this might make sense today for Regal, they need to pick a date at some point ASAP. Even if that date needs to be delayed again. Some defined date is better than no date.
Regal had initially planned on reopening on July 10th, in order to release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet on its original July 17th premiere date. Not long after that film got delayed, Regal pushed back its reopening date to July 31st. As of Wednesday morning, the homepage of the Regal website no longer shows July 31st as its grand reopening. Instead, the page explains that a new reopening date will be announced at a later time.Regal Cinemas Delays Reopening Once Again
What happens next? Based on what’s already happened and what we know, we can come up with some reasonable guesses.
AMC hasn’t announced if it’s going to delay reopening on July 30, but that’s likely to happen very soon. They’ve been out securing up cash through debt restructuring, so they can stay in business as long as possible. Probably announcing that they aren’t going to reopen as planned isn’t something debtors want to contemplate, which might explain the delay. Regal getting out a little ahead of them doesn’t mean much.
Disney will likely announce plans to push back Mulan. That leaves a very small number of movies left for August with the noteworthy title being Bill & Ted Face The Music. My guess is that is pushed back soon as well, leaving movies that either go straight to VOD, get purchased by Netflix, Amazon or other streaming channels for premiere.
Or a curious new path we haven’t discussed here in much depth yet.
Opening theatrically outside the US first
Hollywood Reporter has a story about Warner Bros. flirting with a Tenet launch that opens first internationally.
Just six weeks ago, it would have been unfathomable to imagine debuting a $200 million tentpole without the entire U.S. moviegoing market in play, led by Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. But with COVID-19 cases rising in L.A. and cinemas still shut in Gotham, the thinking has changed despite the risk of piracy. On a global basis, a $200 million tentpole such as Tenet would open at the same time in most territories across the world, although China can be a wild card.‘Tenet’ Tosses Playbook: Staggered Rollout May Be New Box Office “Normal”
The traditional thinking has been to use domestic as an anchor for movie premieres over fear of piracy. Warner Bros. – and probably the financial people — want to see Tenet start making some money back ASAP and the movie theater business overseas is in better shape than the United States.
If August doesn’t have the majority of movie theaters reopened in the US, we’re now looking into September. Wonder Woman 1984 seems like the next title that gets pushed back again or possibly explores an international distribution initially.
Strap in, this ride is about to get even bumpier.