Summer Movie Calendar 2020 changes: Tenet, Unhinged, Mulan and more

As this summer shows, when you try to land on a moving target, you have to be agile.

For months now, the summer release schedule has been a moving target. Anxious distributors have sent some of their titles directly to PVOD, day and date or broadcast, convincing filmmakers of Judd Apatow (Universal’s “The King of Staten Island”) to Kenneth Branagh (Disney’s “Artemis Fowl” poorly reviewed). Expect to play your movies in theaters.

No one knew whether major theater chains across the country could be back in business in July, given the nature of the virus hopscotch that is still spreading, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo now imposes two-week quarantines on Visitors from states with COVID peaks. Cuomo also revealed Thursday that theaters will not open in New York during phase four.

In the past two weeks, the big three theater chains have revealed stage reopens: Texas-based Cinemark (June 19), Regal (July 10, Knoxville, Tennessee) and AMC (July 15, Leawood, Kansas) , and a range of security protocols. While AMC and Regal initially declined to apply the use of masks (after the media’s reaction, both backtracked), Cinemark set a high standard from the start, along with Austin-based indie indie Alamo Drafthouse. However, on Thursday, Texas slowed by reopening the state due to an explosion of new COVID cases.

As the theaters opened, the launch grid began to solidify into something that could be real. Warner Bros.’ “Tenet” was to be the first release of a big-budget studio on July 17, powered by Christopher Nolan, the studio’s in-house A-lister, to support wobbly theaters with their $ 200 million tent, even a possible financial cost. Amid weeks of rumors, the studio decided to give theaters two more weeks and declared its release on July 31, thinking that theaters would be ready. This time, the studio has not only added that date to its posters and trailers, but also began reserving media and running expensive television commercials. But the word is that even “Tenet” could move again.

That makes the new canary in the coal mine another $ 200 million movie, Disney’s live-action show “Mulan,” which is currently airing on July 24 as the first studio release in the summer. (The studio screened the film and did some early press in March.) Why so tentative? There are no means yet. That’s when the clock starts. Regal’s website publishes “Mulan” as “coming soon.” Rumors of another date change are circulating.

On Monday, Paramount hit exhibitors hard when the studio called to let them know it was moving its Aug. 7 family sequel “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” to prioritize CBS’s All Access streaming platform. Viacom parents, who are hungry. for content other than “Star Trek”. That leaves a convenient opening for “Mulan”. Hollywood speculates that where the film will go, as China, a crucial market for the film, is still up in the air. “That buys them two more weeks,” said a dealer.

Regal Cinema Screenings

Another less lucrative option for “Mulan” is Disney +, which will open Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” on July 3 (ahead of schedule) to attract subscribers. But that worldwide collection cost $ 75 million, not $ 200 million. If Disney moves “Mulan” to August 7 or even later in the year, that puts “Tenet” back in the canary position.

As a result, the first summer release that doesn’t primarily open in drive-in is Rod Lurie’s Afghanistan war movie “The Outpost,” starring Orlando Bloom and Scott Eastwood. The launch of the day and date for Screen Media (“The Man Who Killed Don Quixote”) will hit theaters and PVOD on July 3. “VOD is the new normal,” Lure said in a phone interview. “We received our first bruise when SXSW fell due to the virus. That was to be our grand opening. Then we were going to do the world premiere at West Point, but they sent the cadets home. “

Screen Media was planning to go to and from VOD with a couple dozen screens, until they showed the film to Fathom Events, which saw the opportunity for a July 2 relaunch event (complete with director and stars and a documentary. in preparation) on 500 screens across the country, a day before hitting select theaters and VODs and the originally planned release of “Unhinged,” starring Russell Crowe.

But the major chains weren’t going to be ready that early. That is why “Deranged” returned to July 10, and Sony’s independent comedy, the romantic comedy “The Broken Hearts Gallery,” hit July 17 from July 10. Screen Media insisted on a VOD release for its enthusiastic action image on the July 4 weekend. “If we decided to delay as ‘Deranged,'” Lurie said, “we could get caught in a spiral; it could go on and on. At some point you have to make a command decision.”

On the set of

On the set of “The Outpost”

Simon Versano

At this time, a small amount of multiplex will open on July 3. “We are looking for the safest theaters we can find,” said Lurie, tired of tracking COVID peaks from Arizona to Oklahoma. “In the world of my dreams, we would be on 2,000 screens, but that is not the way to go for a long time. It won’t be in Los Angeles or New York, it just can’t. It is a bit stressing “.

Another person exhausted from riding the COVID waves is Mark Gill, the CEO of upstart Solstice, who quickly moved the opening date for the first launch of the new company “Unhinged” from July 3 to July 10, and not only that, He convinced 32 distribution partners around the world (some had previously purchased the film, while others joined) to go in July instead of waiting until later. “Everything is much more bumpy than usual,” Gill said by phone. “So many moving parts, so much uncertainty. Requires agility and adaptability. You don’t have theaters, you have to move, you have no other choice. “

After Gill gave Zoom a presentation to “Unhinged” exhibitors, several small theater chains, including the Omaha-based Mainstream Theaters, decided to open earlier to reserve the film. “They were trying to balance how big the crowd would be with the people who pay,” Gill said. “They were convinced that we had an opportunity to deliver some clients to their movie theaters.”

Russell Crowe stars in road rage thriller “Unhinged”

Skip Bolden

“Deranged” will premiere on 2,000 US screens on July 10, even though some 400 AMC screens won’t light up until July 15. Some theaters in major cities will remain closed, along with parts of Latin America and the Middle East, while Europe and Asia look better, where Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” has proven to be a surprising success, with more than $ 100 million during his international career. “Things changed rapidly over time, twice the normal speed,” said Gill. “Suddenly Europe, including the UK, opened up. Tracking is surprisingly good, it’s easier when you’re not competing with 12 other movies. “(In the UK, the owner of Regal Cineworld does not require customers to wear skins).

Also launching into the fray is rookie filmmaker Rose Glass’s well-known religious horror thriller “Saint Maud,” which A24 originally scheduled for April 3, and even considered taking the place of the Easter weekend vacated by James Bond. , but finally grabbed the abandoned. “Tenet” date of July 17, imagining that your youngest target audience might be willing to appear for a quality genre film in the “Midsommar” cast. A24 is aiming for a wide launch, depending on how many theaters are actually available.

The mantra for these uncertain times seems to be: stay flexible. As Gill says: “What is the phrase? “People plan, God laughs.”

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