- Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” has been delayed for the third time, but Warner Brothers did not give a new concrete release date for the film this time around.
- Hollywood has been banking on “Tenet” to be the first major blockbuster to bring audiences back to theaters since the pandemic forced them to close, so its indefinite delay has far-reaching implications.
- Warner Brothers could potentially release the film overseas before releasing it in the U.S., then open it in safer states first, and stagger the release throughout the country. However, doing so could pose major financial risks.
- Still, organizations like the National Association of Theater Owners believe new movies need to release no matter how small audiences are right now if the box office wants to have a fighting chance.
Very little is known about Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” Its plot has been kept a tightlipped secret and even the names of its lead characters are concealed. Now, its most consequential mystery is its release date.
“Tenet” was initially supposed to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters with a July 17 release date. Coronavirus concerns pushed that back to July 31, then later to August 12. On Monday, Warner Brothers said the $200 million action-thriller is being pushed back even further, but declined to give a concrete date.
This delay is more than just a bummer for Nolan fans and sci-fi enthusiasts. It increases the already high levels of uncertainty movie theaters are struggling with right now. “Tenet” was going to be the first major blockbuster to hit theaters since the coronavirus pandemic shut moviegoing down. Along with “Mulan,” Hollywood hoped it would bring audiences back to the cinema. Now, theaters only have the hope of “Mulan” to hang onto, and it is almost inevitable that its August 21 release date gets another bump.
Implications and International Release Potential
Warner Brothers may have to travel off the beaten path when it comes to their release strategy for the Robert Pattinson and John David Washington starring picture. “Tenet” could make its theatrical debut overseas, where the virus is more controlled and where some theaters are open, well before American audiences get the chance to see it. Several countries in Europe and Asia are already letting people back in theaters, and it has been a long time since they had a big new Hollywood film to screen, meaning there could be an international appetite for the film.
“Our goals throughout this process have been to ensure the highest odds of success for our films while also being ready to support our theater partners with new content as soon as they could safely reopen,” Warner Brothers Picture Group chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement. “We are not treating ‘Tenet’ like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that.”
Many believe that this means the movie will not only release in certain countries first, but perhaps even certain parts of the United States could get it sooner as well. This, however, could present major issues. Cities like Los Angeles and New York, which are the biggest box office contributors in the country, currently do not have public plans for theaters to open back up. It would be a major financial risk to release a film knowing it could not go to those cities.
Coming from the mind of Nolan, “Tenet” is also bound to have twists and turns that could get easily spoiled if its release date is staggered throughout the world. Some countries or states could give away key details before other audiences even get the chance to see it, something that not only knocks the impact of the film, but the appeal for filmgoers to go to the theaters to see it as well.
Theater Owners Want to Open
Despite the clear financial risks, John Fithian, the head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, told Variety that studios need to release what they have no matter the circumstances.
“Distributors should stick with their dates and release their movies because there’s no guarantee that more markets will be open later this year,” he said in a Q&A. “Until there’s a vaccine that’s widely available, there will not be 100% of the markets open. Because of that, films should be released in markets where it is safe and legal to release them and that’s about 85% of markets in the U.S. and even more globally. They should release their movies and deal with this new normal.”
Still, releasing films to scattered markets is easier said than done. No studio wants their movie to be the guinea pig that tests how successful a film can be during a pandemic. Warner Brothers would rather see how “Mulan” does before they play “Tenet,” and likewise, Disney would like to see how “Tenet” fairs before it releases “Mulan.”
But someone has to be first, and it all comes down to how studios think they can safely take that jump. Much of this hangs on when theaters open, which is also far from a sure thing. Chains like AMC said they would open in mid-July, but after “Tenet” and “Mulan” moved to August, they went to late July. Now, with California theaters ordered to close, Los Angeles on the verge of another lockdown, case spikes in several states, and “Tenet” delayed once more, it would hardly be surprising if these chains pushed their openings back yet again. Hollywood then ends up in a rampant cycle of theaters delaying their openings based on film release dates, and films then delaying their release dates based on theater openings.
Fithian told the Los Angeles Times that the consequences of this could be severe.
“This is existential for the movie theater industry. If we go a year without new movies, it’s over,” he said.
The timing of this pandemic’s hit lines perfectly with the summer box office season, only makes matters worse. According to the Times, this season usually accounts for 40% of ticket sales, and the North American box office will fall around 61% from last year.
While some movie theaters are open to play classics and drive ins are making something of a comeback, many owners just don’t think this will be sustainable.
“You can only have so many showings of ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Harry Potter.’ At the end of the day, our livelihood is new movies,” Classic Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson told the Times. “We’re going to make sure the new releases are set in stone before we get excited.”
So far, neither Disney nor movie theater chains have made a knee-jerk announcement following the indefinite delay of “Tenet.” This could be an optimistic sign for entertainment, but during this pandemic, last-minute changes have become the norm.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Los Angeles Times) (IndieWire)
Affidavit Outlines Alleged Events That Lead Up to Fatal Shooting on “Rust” Set
Before the tragic incident that resulted in the death of the film’s cinematographer, actor Alec Baldwin was allegedly assured that the gun he was handed on set was not loaded.
Details of Events Leading Up to Shooting
An affidavit alleges that actor Alec Baldwin was rehearsing a scene that involved him pointing a gun at the camera when he misfired the weapon last week, killing the production’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injuring director Joel Souza.
Multiple outlets obtained the affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday. The document details the alleged events that resulted in Thursday’s tragedy on the set of “Rust.” Souza told investigators that during a firearms safety announcement, he heard the prop weapon referred to as a “cold gun,” a term that means the gun is not loaded.
According to Souza, the guns on set were usually checked by two people: armorer Hannah Guttierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls. Halls was in charge of giving the guns to actors, though sources said both Guttierrez-Reed and Halls did so at various times.
The affidavit said that Halls handed the gun to Baldwin while announcing it as a “cold gun.” Investigators say investigators that Halls got the revolver from a tray set up by Gutierrez-Reed.
Souza said the crew had spent part of the day preparing for a scene in a church and later left to take a lunch break at another location. He said he was unsure if the firearm had been checked again after returning from lunch.
When the accident happened. Souza said he heard what “sounded like a whip and then loud pop.” He first noticed Hutchins grabbing her midsection and stumbling back before realizing he had been hit in the shoulder.
The incident came after six camera crew workers reportedly walked off the set in protest of unfair and unsafe working conditions. According to the affidavit, a replacement crew had quickly been hired, but production on the day of the accident was off to a late start because of related issues. Regarding general on-set behavior, Souza claimed that “everyone was getting along” and that there had been “no altercations” to his knowledge.
The affidavit’s walkout claim backed up previous reporting from The Los Angeles Times. Sources from the set of “Rust” told the outlet on Friday that half a dozen workers left the set because they were frustrated by safety issues, long hours, long commutes, and a long wait for their paychecks.
Safety Issues on Set of “Rust”
According to the report, standard industry safety protocols “were not strictly followed,” and at least one worker complained specifically about gun safety. Some sources told The Times that there had already been at least two accidental discharges of a prop gun. Around a week before the fatal accident, Baldwin’s stunt double allegedly fired two rounds after being told a gun was cold.
“There should have been an investigation into what happened,” one source told the outlet. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”
Another source told The Times that “corners were being cut” on set.
The report also claimed that Hutchins was among those advocating for her team to have safer work conditions.
Rust Movie Productions released a statement saying safety “is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company.”
“Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down,” the statement continued.
Baldwin, for his part, sent his condolences to Hutchins’ family on Friday. At the time, he said he was cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
Vigils have been held in New Mexico and Hollywood to honor Hutchins. The American Film Institute also made a memorial scholarship in her name.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (The New York Times) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Ruby Rose Details Abusive and Unsafe Work Conditions on Set of “Batwoman” Series
Rose said she and other crew members were seriously injured while filming, but executives insisted that production continue.
Ruby Rose Details Injuries During “Batwoman” Production
Actor Ruby Rose alleged in Instagram Story posts Wednesday that she and other crew members on the set of CW’s “Batwoman” series were seriously injured and subjected to abusive treatment during production.
Rose, who uses she/they pronouns, exited the series in 2020 but did not give explicit details as to why at the time. Now, they are accusing showrunner Caroline Dries, producers Sarah Schechter and Greg Berlanti, and former WBTV executive Peter Roth of fostering a toxic and dangerous work environment.
The original star of “Batwoman” tagged Dries, Schechter, and Berlanti in her Story posts, writing “enough is enough.”
“I’m going to tell the whole world what really happened on that set,” Rose continued. “I will come for you so what happened to me never happens to another person again. And so I can finally take back my life and the truth. Shame on you.”
Rose shared a video of a doctor detailing rib injuries she received on set. She claimed she had enough footage to make an hour-long documentary about these injuries, which allegedly also included a “broken neck,” a “rib split in two” and a “tumor.” In a later post, Rose wrote that in another instance she “got cut in the face so close to my eye in a stunt I could have been blind.”
Rose also shared footage of a surgery they underwent, claiming they had to return to set just 10 days after the operation otherwise “the whole crew and cast would be fired.”
Rose Claims Executives Fostered Dangerous Workplace
“Please to my dear, dear fans stop asking if I will return to that awful show,” Rose continued. “I wouldn’t return for any amount of money nor if a gun were to my head…NOR DID I QUIT. They ruined Kate Kane and they destroyed batwoman, not me.”
Rose added that they were not the only one who sustained traumatic injuries during filming. Rose claimed that the series “lost two stunt doubles” and that one crew member received severe third-degree burns all over his body while the cast and crew watched.
“We were given no therapy after witnessing his skin fall off his face,” Rose wrote.
Rose even wrote that a woman “was left quadriplegic” during an accident but executives tried “to blame it on her being on her phone.”
“She’s a PA, they work via phones,” Rose continued. “Her accident occurred because our show refused to shut down when everyone else did because of Covid.”
Rose’s allegations regarding mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic continued from there. She wrote that Dries only visited the show’s set four times a year, but still insisted that production continue as COVID posed a threat. Rose said “Batwoman” continued running while other sets, including those of CW productions, were shutting down.
“[Dries] has no heart and wanted us to finish the season throughout the pandemic and I told her it was a bad idea,” Rose wrote. “I told her everyone was too distracted, constantly checking Covid updates checking on friends.”
Rose claims that when production did finally halt, it was not because a production assistant had been severely injured but because “the government pulled it.”
Separately, Rose accused Roth of having young women steam the crotch area of his pants while he was wearing them. She also alleged that Roth sent a private investigator after her and that Dries encouraged her to comply with him.
Rose admitted that they “fought people” on set, but claimed they only did so to advocate for safety. Rose said they never raised their voice, unlike fellow actor Dougray Scott, who they accused of going on abusive tirades.
“Dougray hurt a female stunt double,” Rose claimed. “He yelled like a little bitch at women and was a nightmare. He left when he wanted and arrived when he wanted he abused women and in turn as a lead of a show I sent an email out asking for a no yelling policy, they declined.”
WBTV responded to the allegations Wednesday. The network gave a statement to Deadline accusing Rose of sharing a “revisionist history” that implicates “producers, the cast and crew, the network, and the Studio.”
“The truth is that Warner Bros. Television had decided not to exercise its option to engage Ruby for season two of Batwoman based on multiple complaints about workplace behavior that were extensively reviewed and handled privately out of respect for all concerned,” the statement continued.
See what others are saying: (Rolling Stone) (The Wrap) (Screen Rant)
Netflix Reinstates Employee Who Crashed Director-Level Meeting After Criticizing Dave Chapelle
Terra Field had publicly accused Chappelle of making transphobic remarks in his new stand-up special “The Closer” just days before she was suspended.
Netflix Reinstates Terra Field
Netflix reinstated a transgender employee who was critical of Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special after suspending her for attending a director-level meeting without an invitation.
Terra Field tweeted on Tuesday that she was reinstated once the company determined “there was no ill-intent in” her decision to attend the meeting.
“I’m going to take a few days off to decompress and try to figure out where I’m at,” she added. “At the very least, I feel vindicated.”
Field also shared an email Netflix sent her regarding her suspension being lifted.
“Our investigation did not find that you joined the QBR meeting with any ill intent and that you genuinely didn’t think there was anything wrong with seeking access to this meeting,” the email said. “Additionally, when a Director shared the link it further supported that this was a meeting you could attend.”
Field’s suspension came just days after she tweeted a viral thread criticizing Chappelle’s latest program on Netflix, “The Closer.” She was one of many activists who claimed Chappelle’s set was transphobic and encouraged Netflix to take action. Field wrote that his comments attacked “the very validity of transness.” Netflix insisted those tweets had nothing to do with her suspension.
Field reportedly attended the director-level meeting with two other employees who were also suspended. A spokesperson for Netflix told Deadline that those two staffers have likewise been reinstated and the company “will be distributing broader guidance about meetings and clarifying which are for which people.”
Netflix’s Response to Dave Chappelle Controversy
Netflix, for its part, has defended Chappelle and rejected calls to remove “The Closer” from the streaming service.
“It never feels good when people are hurting, especially our colleagues,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Srandos wrote in an internal memo. “You should also be aware that some talent may join third parties in asking us to remove the show in the coming days, which we are not going to do.”
“We don’t allow titles on Netflix that are designed to incite hate or violence, and we don’t believe The Closer crosses that line,” he added. “I recognize, however, that distinguishing between commentary and harm is hard, especially with stand-up comedy which exists to push boundaries. Some people find the art of stand-up to be mean spirited but our members enjoy it, and it’s an important part of our content offering.”
Among other things, Chappelle took time in his special to defend author J.K. Rowling, who previously faced backlash over a series of transphobic remarks she made. Chappelle said he agreed with Rowling.
“I’m team TERF,” he added. “I agree. I agree, man. Gender is a fact.”
Chappelle went on to make jokes about Caitlyn Jenner before comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
Many employees at Netflix are still frustrated with the way the platform has handled the controversy surrounding “The Closer.” According to The Verge, a trans employee resource group is planning a walkout on Oct. 20.
“Trans Lives Matter. Trans Rights Matter,” the group said in a memo. “And as an organization, Netflix has continually failed to show deep care in our mission to Entertain the World by repeatedly releasing content that harms the Trans community and continually failing to create content that represents and uplifts Trans content. We can and must do better!”