In recent months many films have skipped the box office due to the coronavirus pandemic, while others have been delayed.
The latter applies to Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated sci-fi thriller ‘Tenet‘ that was initially scheduled for release in July.
Tenet’s Staggered Release Schedule
After several delays, Warner Bros. has now decided on the official and presumably final premiere dates. The film will premiere on August 26 in many countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
Other countries, including the US, Russia and China, will have to wait a week longer and in Japan, Tenet will officially debut on September 18.
These staggered releases aren’t unusual. That said, in an increasingly globalized society, it creates extra tension. With movie fans craving for a blockbuster big-screen experience, it’s frustrating to see others enjoying it first.
Perfect Storm for Piracy
This tension has motivated people to turn to pirate sites in the past, as these don’t have release delays. This could be a problem for Tenet as well, according to an unnamed anti-piracy veteran who spoke with Variety.
“In some ways ‘Tenet’ is a perfect storm for piracy, in that it has raised expectations, both about the film itself and the cinema experience,” the anti-piracy veteran said. “Also, it has limited availability and suffers from a staggered release.”
Whether piracy will indeed become a massive problem is up for debate. If there is a leak, it will likely be a low-quality camcorded version. While there certainly is a demand for those, hardcore fans will probably prefer to wait a week or two to enjoy it in its full glory.
Warner Bros. will face a much bigger problem when a high-quality leak surfaces. However, those are very rare nowadays.
Warner Bros. Takes Down Leaked Footage
That said, it is clear that the movie studio is keeping a close eye on potential leaks. Over the past few days, Warner Bros. sent several takedown notices to remove exclusive Tenet footage that appeared online.
The footage in question is from a prologue to Tenet, which appeared in theaters during the re-release of Inception in recent weeks. Nolan fans published copies of it online, including on Reddit, but these were swiftly pulled by Warner Bros.
The movie studio also reached out to Google on several occasions, asking it to remove the exclusive footage from Google Drive, where people shared it publicly and privately. These files were subsequently removed by Google for violating its terms of service.
The takedowns show that Warner Bros. is vigilant and movie theaters may have to employ more strict anti-piracy measures for the premiere as well.
Variety reached out to several exhibitors around the world, but none appear to have received any special instructions thus far. That said, they are likely more than happy to go the extra mile if needed.
“Warner Bros. hasn’t specifically mentioned [piracy], but we’re aware of that and are taking extra steps because Chris Nolan is trusting us with ‘Tenet.’ We’re going to do everything we can to help him out,” one international exhibitor said.
It’s certainly possible that camcorded copies of Tenet will appear online later this month. However, based on similar releases in the past, we expect that the massive piracy boom will take place when the first high-quality copies come out. That could take a few more months.