Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” will show in some locations beginning Monday, August 31 for three nights, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune and another source, in advance of its September 3 release. The article also confirmed that Chicago’s Music Box Theater will play the film in 70mm for its engagement. That theater was one of just five in North America to show “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” in 70mm.
The August 31 debut would mean that some U.S. audiences could start seeing the film a few days after its initial international release date of Wednesday, August 26. Warner Bros. did not respond to calls seeking comment. While Nolan has made clear his preference for large-format screens such as 70mm and IMAX, Warners would face a challenging sneaks environment even without format restrictions.
Multiple major areas are not yet cleared for theater reopenings, including much of New York state, California, and some of Arizona; North Carolina will not open until September 11. The Tribune reported that “Tenet” previews would be once per night, which could mean unprecedented demand for very few seats given distancing requirements and auditorium restrictions. For example, COVID-19 restrictions mean that indoor Chicago theaters are restricted to 50 people per theater or 50 percent of space capacity, per auditorium. With once-nightly showings, that makes for a very bespoke preview.
The Music Box website, which links to the Tribune article, has not begun to sell “Tenet” tickets. However, it is selling tickets for “Inception” in 70mm. Advance tickets for August 26 openings went on sale in the U.K. and elsewhere.
Note: After publication, a Warner Bros. representative responded: “We’ve only announced 9/3 at this stage.”