With movie theaters re-opening up across the world, Christopher Nolan’s espionage thriller Tenet and Disney’s Mulan are the only high profile films set for a July theatrical release. Both studios hoped that this would mean increased success with the lack of competition, but it’s possible that they will see lower projected box offices than before. With both movies having over 200 million dollar budgets, the studios- Warner Bros. and Disney respectively- hope that their films have strong legs for the coming months.
In an interview, National Association of Theatre Owners’ CEO John Fithian revealed that major chains AMC and Cinemark are expected to be opened up across the nation by mid-July, just in time for the openings of Tenet ands Mulan. Fithian encouraged audience members to attend the theaters, assuring that they will comply with social distancing guidelines, “We’re planning for how we open up our seating so we can adhere to strict social distancing guidelines. We’re encouraging companies to lean in on reserved ticketing and to train their staff to prevent congestion in the lobbies.”
Despite this, the aforementioned big budget tentpoles are still expected to struggle their opening weekends, given customer behavior being indefinitely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Still, movie studios and theater owners cited the film’s international appeals and lack of box office competition worldwide as signs to be optimistic, stating, “[Tenet and Mulan] will play a lot longer in theaters than they would have a year ago. They won’t open to the kind of numbers they would have a year ago, but there’s going to be tremendous word-of-mouth.” If the films are successful, it will be a step in the right direction for an industry looking to return to normal.