- Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” has been delayed for a second time and will now be hitting theaters on August 12 as opposed to July 31.
- One day later, Disney’s “Mulan” was also moved from July 24 to August 21.
- The move comes as coronavirus cases across the country are beginning to rise and after New York, which has one of the country’s biggest moviegoing markets, announced it was delaying its plans to open theaters.
- Many theaters were planning their opening around the releases of “Tenet” and “Mulan,” hoping it would get people back in seats. Now theaters might have to rethink their strategies.
Hopes that there could be a last-minute save for the summer box office just got smaller as Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” pushed its release date back for a second time, moving from July 31 to August 12.
The $200 million Warner Brothers film was originally slated to come out on July 17 but was pushed back by two weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic. As cases continue to surge across the country, “Tenet” got another two-week bump.
“Warner Bros. is committed to bringing ‘Tenet’ to audiences in theaters, on the big screen, when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it’s time,” a Warner Brothers said in a statement. “In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. We are choosing to open the movie mid-week to allow audiences to discover the film in their own time, and we plan to play longer, over an extended play period far beyond the norm, to develop a very different yet successful release strategy.”
The John David Washington and Robert Pattinson led action thriller will be released on a Wednesday, as opposed to a usual Friday opening. Stakes for this film’s opening are high, as it is one of the first major studio movies to make its way to the big screen after the pandemic shut moviegoing down in March. Many movie theater chains have planned their openings around this film, hoping it will give them a much-needed boost.
Nolan has a strong track record at the box office. His last film, “Dunkirk,” released in July of 2017, brought in over $526 million at the global box office. His last two feature films before that, “Interstellar” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” brought in $677 million and $1 billion respectively.
Two of the nation’s largest theater chains, AMC and Cinemark, were set to open all of their locations in time for audiences to see “Tenet.” Theaters would operate with social distancing guidelines and under limited capacity. However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that movie theater openings in his state would be postponed. New York City is one the country’s largest moviegoing markets, and studios will be hesitant to release their titles without it. It is unclear if chains like AMC and Cinemark will be changing course.
Mulan Gets Bumped
Things took another turn for the worse for theaters when Disney’s “Mulan” also opted to delay its release on Friday, just one day after the announcement of the new date for “Tenet.” Theaters were also banking on the live action remake of the animated classic to tempt moviegoers. “Mulan” was originally supposed to come out in March but was pushed back to July 24, several months ago. Now, it will come out on August 21.
Now, “Mulan” will not be the first major movie to test the success of the new box office, and that pressure will fall on “Tenet.” Being the first major film to open during the pandemic is a tough position that no studio is thrilled to put their projects in. Each likely wants to see how other movies do before they take the risk themselves.
Because no massive blockbuster will be hitting the big screen until August, theater chains may have to fully reconsider their opening plans. The only new picture they would have to show is “Unhinged,” starring Russel Crowe, still set to release on July 10. While it is set to be the first movie to go to theaters, it is not as highly anticipated and is not expected to draw massive crowds like “Mulan” and “Tenet” could. It may not be worth the financial risk.
Other options that both “Tenet” and “Mulan” have are to go to streaming services, but that is highly unlikely. Nolan is a strong supporter of seeing films in theaters and will likely not budge. As for “Mulan,” Disney has made billions off the runs of their live-action remakes and will probably not want to take the loss of throwing it on Disney+ instead.
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (Variety) (IndieWire)
Note: This article was updated to reflect the new release date for “Mulan.”
“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press
Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.
Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling”
Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million.
Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.
Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.
Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.
“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it.
Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired.
The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation.
A Film Riddled With Rumors
Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday.
Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings.
Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.
In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”
See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Box Office Mojo) (New York Times)
Senators Introduce Legislation Requiring Radios to Pay Royalties to Artists
Sen. Padilla argued the bill is necessary to give artists the “dignity and respect they deserve.”
The American Music Fairness Act
Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the American Music Fairness Act to the Senate on Thursday, a bill that would require radio stations to pay royalties to performers and rights holders.
The bill was previously introduced to the House last year. According to a release, the United States is the only democratic country where artists are not compensated for their music’s use on AM or FM radio. While songwriters and publishers receive payment, these stations have never been required to give a slice of the pie to performers and copyright holders.
On streaming and satellite radio, however, both groups receive royalty payments.
In a statement, Padilla said it is time the country starts treating “our musical artists with the dignity and respect they deserve for the music they produce and we enjoy every day.”
“California’s artists have played a pivotal role in enriching and diversifying our country’s music scene,” he added. “That is why passing the American Music Fairness Act is so important.”
“From Beale Street to Music Row to the hills of East Tennessee, the Volunteer State’s songwriters have undeniably made their mark,” Blackburn echoed. “Tennessee’s creators deserve to be compensated for their work. This legislation will ensure that they receive fair payment and can keep the great hits coming.”
The American Music Fairness Act would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay royalties to music creators when their songs are played. It would also protect smaller stations that either make less than $1.5 million in annual revenue or who have a parent company that makes less than $10 million in annual revenue by letting them play unlimited music for under $500 a year.
The bill would also require other countries to pay American artists for the use of their work.
Support From Major Music Groups
The legislation is endorsed by a number of groups, including the Recording Academy, SAG-AFTRA, and the American Federation of Musicians.
If passed, the bill could move a lot of money into the pockets of performers. According to the Recording Academy, when American music gets international airplay, other countries collect royalties for American artists, amounting to around $200 million every year. However, they “never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.”
Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, argues that the money belongs to the artists.
“Broadcast companies profit from advertising sales because of the creative content musicians and singers record. It stands to reason that the performers who create the content deserve to be compensated just as songwriters are now,” Drescher said in a statement. “The reason it’s called the American Music Fairness Act is because the current situation is wholly unfair and it’s up to Congress to make it fair NOW!”
Last year, Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bill with essentially the opposite agenda. It aims to reserve radio’s royalty-free status. The American Music Fairness Act is being viewed as a counter-response to this bill.
Kanye West Says Catalog Is Potentially Being Sold Without His Permission: “Just Like Taylor Swift”
After Swift lost the rights to her life’s work, she took on the endeavor of re-recording her first six albums.
Kanye’s Catalog Potentially Up For Grabs
Following reports that Kanye West was considering selling his catalog, the artist took to Instagram on Tuesday to claim his work is potentially being sold without his approval.
On Monday, Billboard reported that West had been “quietly and intermittently shopping his publishing catalog.”
While the outlet’s sources did not reveal what price West was aiming for, Billboard estimated that West might be looking at a $175 million valuation for his discography. Some of Billboard’s sources seemingly suggested that West and his team were specifically behind the effort to sell his work, but others claimed the “catalog was never actively shopped” and instead, West had been receiving offers from potential buyers.
Not long after, several news outlets picked the story up and reported that West was gearing up to sell his catalog. West responded by writing on his Instagram story that this was not the case.
“Not For Sale”
“Just like Taylor Swift,” he said, referencing music mogul Scooter Braun purchasing Swift’s masters with Big Machine Records without her approval. “My publishing is being put up for my sale without my knowledge. Not for sale.”
Swift referred to the sale of her masters to Braun as her “worst case scenario.” In order to regain ownership of her work, she is in the process of re-recording her first six albums, all of which she originally made under Big Machine. Two have already been released and proved to be wildly commercially successful.
According to Forbes, it is unclear which of his albums West owns the masters to, if he owns any at all. Because of this, it is unknown what kind of position he would be put in if his catalog, which is currently managed by Sony, was sold.
The status of any potential for his work to be sold became foggier later on Tuesday when West shared screenshots of a text exchange he had. He asked an unidentified person what was happening with the catalog sale, and that person responded by calling it “fake news.”
“Of course every publisher wants to pitch [their] hardest buy, smh,” the text continued.
West did not further indicate if those texts were meant to clarify that his catalog was, in fact, not up for sale, or just further distance himself from any potential acquisition.