Cinema operators in Australia are targeting mid-July as the date they will be open their theaters to the public. That would likely make Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” the country’s first tentpole release in the post coronavirus era.
The optimism follows a board meeting of the National Association of Cinema Operators on Tuesday which weighed up Australia’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the currently improving conditions. The federal and state governments say lockdown measures, which began on March 23, may soon become less onerous.
Australia has recorded 6,849 confirmed cased of coronavirus and 96 deaths.
“The (NACO) board is enthusiastic about the prospect of re-opening and is hopeful of conditions enabling it to do so in July. The Board is very mindful of social distancing restrictions needing to be put in place and acknowledges that the impact this will have on trading due to these reduced capacities,” the organization said in a public statement.
Two major conditions need to be met before theatre operators swing open their doors. These are a government green light, and a firming up of the film release schedule by the major Hollywood studios.
It is understood that Nolan and Warner Bros are aiming for a July 16 global release for time travel film “Tenet.” The picture, which stars Robert Pattinson, John David Washington, Michael Caine, Kenneth Branagh and Elizabeth Debicki, was shot using IMAX cameras and lenses and is intended to be presented in premium large formats including 70mm prints, Imax DMR blow up and D-Cinema.
NACO says a return to business will be accompanied by a new “Australian industry standard for sanitization.” The will involve staggered session times and spaced seating to meet social distancing requirements, contactless and cashless transactions wherever possible, investment in sanitization stations where appropriate and increased frequency of cleaning cinemas, staff ‘wellness’ policies to ensure the wellbeing of staff and the promotion of the (federal) government CoVidSafe app download among staff and customers.
“We know our customers cannot wait to visit their local cinemas and we look forward to welcoming Australian audiences back to their local cinema soon with a slate of blockbuster movies including ‘No Time to Die,’ ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ ‘Mulan,’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘Peter Rabbit 2’ and ‘I Am Woman’,” the organization said.