Australia’s movie theater operators are aiming to reopen their cinemas following the novel coronavirus pandemic shutdown in mid-July — and they’re looking to Christopher Nolan for some help.
The National Association of Cinema Operators, which represents Australia’s major multiplex chains, put out a statement late Tuesday saying it was “enthusiastic about the prospect of reopening and is hopeful of conditions enabling it to do so in July.”
Theater operators say they are banking on Nolan’s Warner Bros. sci-fi tentpole Tenet to be the blockbuster leading them out of the coronavirus-shutdown doldrums. Cinemas across Australia have been shuttered since mid-March as part of the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
Kristian Connelly, CEO of Australian circuit Cinema Nova, summed up local exhibitors’ hopes by telling the The Sydney Morning Herald: “Nolan’s film Tenet is like a totem guiding the industry towards its reboot.”
The National Association of Cinema Operators added, however, that member companies would not reopen until the government advises them that it’s safe to do so. Industry players also are expecting that caps on seating capacity will be required to maintain social distancing guidelines, as well as other safety measures, including staggered screening times, contactless ticketing transactions, sanitization stations at entries and frequent cinema cleaning.
Tenet, written and directed by Nolan, is a high-concept thriller about a secret agent tasked with preventing WWIII through time travel. Crafted expressly for the big screen, like all of Nolan’s work, the movie was shot in Imax, 35 mm, and 70 mm. It stars John David Washington (Denzel Washington’s son), Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh.
Australia’s National Association of Cinema Operators represents more than 2,000 screens and 12,000 employees, spread across about 500 locations.