Tenet will have its international premiere before hitting theaters in the US | AP

In a new plan for Hollywood’s long-awaited pandemic return to theaters, Warner Bros. will release Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” in an unprecedented way: first abroad, on August 26, and then in select cities. from the United States, in September.

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Warner Bros. said Monday that « Tenet » will reach more than 70 countries, including Japan, Russia, most of Europe, Australia and Canada, on Wednesday, August 26. The $ 200 million thriller will premiere in the United States a few days later, Thursday, September 3, for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

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The staggered premiere will be made according to the outbreaks of COVID-19. Instead of the global summer launch reserved for the biggest productions, « Tenet » will be appearing in theaters as they open. The film, whose original release was scheduled for July 17, has been postponed its premiere on several occasions due to the increase in cases of coronavirus in the United States.

Now Warner Bros. has flipped the usual launch of a potential blockbuster. When « Tenet » hits screens in the United States, it will do so gradually across the country, and depending on the areas where movie theaters may open. They are currently closed in California and New York (the country’s main markets), among other states, but that could change next month.

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Warner Bros. will also deliberately change its « opening weekend » to mid-week in order to distance moviegoers. Large chains hope to operate with greater cleaning measures and reduced capacities of 25 to 50% to facilitate social distancing. AMC Theaters, the world’s largest network, postponed last week the reopening of its theaters in the United States for mid or late August.

While other major releases have suffered further delays, Nolan and Warner Bros. have sought to lead the return to theaters. The exhibitors, the vast majority closed for more than four months, are desperate for new films and have implored distributors to accept atypical release patterns.

Walt Disney Co. indefinitely postponed the release of its new version of « Mulan » (« Mulan ») last week. Paramount Pictures deferred that of « A Quiet Place Part II » to April 2021.

Last week the theaters reopened in China, the second largest market in the world, although « Tenet » still has no release date in that country. In Europe, about a third of AMC theaters have resumed operations. Meanwhile, theaters have been showing mostly old movies.