AMC Theaters boss Adam Aron can breathe a slight sigh of relief this morning, because he’s not going to have to bar future Warner Bros. films from screening at his theaters like he did for Universal. That was because NBCUniversal was making plans to release more big movies on streaming even after theaters reopen, which Aron took as a breakdown of the way movie releases are supposed to work, but Warner Bros. evidently still believes in the importance of theaters—at least for one specific movie that simply must be released in theaters.
We’re talking about Tenet, as we so often are, which was delayed once again earlier this week when Warner Bros. decided to pull it from its upcoming release schedule entirely. It no longer has a specific release date on the books, but at the time the studio suggested that it was still hopeful it would come out in theaters in 2020—even if that meant releasing it outside of the U.S. first, since a lot of other countries actually have their shit together when it comes to the coronavirus. Now, Warner Bros. has made its plans for Tenet a little more explicit, with Deadline reporting that the studio has effectively confirmed that Tenet will not be released on a streaming or VOD before it gets a theatrical release.
In a conference call with analysts (sounds like fun), AT&T CEO John Stankey said he would be “very surprised” if a movie like Tenet or Wonder Woman didn’t have a traditional theatrical run, going on to say, “I can assure you with Tenet, that’s not going to be the case.” So there’s some wiggle room there, since he didn’t, say, get a tattoo that says “Tenet will be in theaters no matter what,” but AT&T is WarnerMedia’s parent company, so if anyone’s going to have a say in what happens to Tenet, it’s Stankey.