As the three-step plan to reopen the country from COVID-19 restrictions was unveiled by the government earlier this week, cinemas in Australia are now looking ahead to how and when they will re-open their doors.
The National Association of Cinema Operators released a public statement last week where they revealed the industry would be working toward a July re-opening. “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 the impact this will have on trading due to these reduced capacities”.
The reopening target coincides with the upcoming release of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated next feature Tenet, which Warner Brothers has slated for a July 16 release in Australia. Despite the enormous shake-up of the 2020 film release schedule, Tenet is the only blockbuster to have held its place and is sticking to its original release date for now.
Nolan is not only one of the most critically and publicly adored directors of our time but is often celebrated by the film and cinema industry for his vocal support and advocacy of traditional film making and the cinema experience. In late March he wrote a passionate essay for The Washington Post addressing film studios, the government and the public, asking for support for movie theatres during and after these difficult COVID-19 affected times – you can read the full essay here.
It has been widely reported that Nolan is determined for his big-budget espionage thriller to be the film that relaunches cinemas across the globe, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond recently stated “Chris really would like to be coming out with the film that opens theatres…I don’t know anyone in America who is pushing harder to get the theatres reopened and to get his movie released than Chris Nolan.”
Not much has been revealed about the plot of the upcoming blockbuster, and the teaser trailer doesn’t give too much away, like all Christopher Nolan films, it was made with its storyline under lock and key. It is being described as an action epic revolving around international espionage, time travel and evolution. What we do know is that Tenet is the highest budget film of Nolan’s career (which is significant when you consider he did 3 Batman franchise films), he will be directing from his own original screenplay, it has been shot utilising a mixture of IMAX and 70mm film, and it boasts an excellent cast including John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh and of course Michael Caine. You can check out the teaser trailer at the end of this article.
Although Australian cinemas (Palace very much included!) are hoping for Tenet to be the spark that reignites the movie-going revival, the risk remains that the US and Europe will not be ready to open their theatres at the same time as us which could potentially lead to a delay in the release of Tenet and of Disney’s Mulan which is scheduled to release the following week (July 23).
Since we made the difficult decision to temporarily close all Palace Cinema locations in mid-March, prior to the government shutdown of all Australian cinemas, our main priority has and will continue to be the safety of our patrons and staff. If all goes well and we are able to re-open our cinemas in July, we will be operating under very different conditions. Palace Cinemas will be introducing all necessary and available precautionary measures, including staggered session times, spaced seating to meet social distancing requirements, contactless and cashless transactions wherever possible, investment in sanitisation stations, and the implementation of staff wellness policies to ensure the wellbeing of our team.
When Palace Cinemas confirms a date to re-open cinemas across the country, we will issue a press release sharing all the details of our re-launch as well as a detailed guide to the precautionary measures we will have in place. We cannot wait to be back offering sublime entertainment and a place to indulge and escape when it is safe to do so.