For weeks many commentators, us included, have spoken about Tenet as the test case for theatres during the COVID lockdown relaxation. It turns out the industry as a whole agrees.
Christopher Nolan refused to even consider a VOD release and as the entire summer slate of many studios has been shifted, Tenet held firm to mid-July. It is yet to move. Warner Bros. dogged determination to stick to that date, thus far, really has drawn attention to the movie across the industry.
As the restrictions relax from this coming Friday in many territories all eyes are on Nolan’s movie. If a secondary wave of infections flares up and Tenet has to be moved that, as far as the industry is concerned, is 2020 over and done for new movies.
This is no exaggeration. The Washington Post quotes a studio exec who was blunt:
“If Tenet doesn’t come out or doesn’t succeed, every other company goes home. It’s no movies until Christmas.”
This line is echoed by new Disney CEO Bob Chapek who indicated recently the studio will see how Nolan’s film performs before reaching a decision on the live action Mulan. No pressure then.
Meanwhile an EDO survey has found a glimmer of hope for the COVID impacted theatre owners. EDO is the digital polling company backed by actor Edward Norton that is fast gaining traction due to the accuracy of its polls.
They found that 75% of U.S. filmgoers are more likely to return to cinemas upon their re-opening if certain safety measures are implemented.
91% said theaters should have hand-sanitizer stations throughout the building, 86% wanted limited showtimes to allow for extended cleaning times between screenings, 77% want employees to wear facemasks, 70% want employees temperatures checked, 70% want attendees to wear facemasks, and nearly 60% of moviegoers are open to having their temperatures taken.
Only 5% believe no safety measures should be implemented. The survey established a benchmark by initially asking outright if customers would return to cinemas. Only 40% said they would. However when the safety measures were added that figure jumped to 75%.