Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all in the US. Obviously, this means a lot more for the most at-risk folks that are being hospitalized and killed due to the illness than it does for Hollywood, but the fact remains that the film industry is in crisis right now. And though many are hoping that “Tenet,” which was supposed to hit theaters in July, will actually arrive in August, a new report isn’t going to instill any confidence.
According to THR, an analyst with MKM Partners, Eric Handler, who studies the box office and the theatrical release business, is not only predicting an even worse decline in revenue for theaters in the US this year but is also predicting that theaters aren’t likely to open before September. Yes, that means Warner Bros. is likely going to be forced to move “Tenet” to another date, either in the fall or perhaps even in 2021.
Handler said, “We place a low likelihood of ‘Tenet’ opening on Aug. 12 given a rising number of COVID-19 cases in key areas, such as California, Texas, and Florida, along with the slowed re-opening of the New York City economy. In our view, it would be surprising to see theaters able to re-open nationwide before September, at the earliest.”
Earlier in the year, when people were first starting to see the massive implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the film industry, MKM predicted that the box office would be down by upwards of 60% this year compared to 2019. However, with this new report, it appears that the yearly box office could be down as much as 70% if theaters don’t open until the fall. Keep in mind, this is only regarding the US box office. In other countries, especially in Latin America, the prognosis is actually worse, with MKM worried that theaters won’t open until October.
So, if you’ve been hoping for that August ‘Tenet’ release date, it appears that you should probably make other plans for the 12th. And if WB does move the film, the pressure moves to September and beyond to see if we’ll actually get theatrical releases anytime soon.