Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci fi thriller Tenet may not be getting the August release date we so hoped for. According to exhibition industry analyst Eric Handler via Variety, the likelihood of Tenet hitting theaters this summer is low due to the rise in new coronavirus cases in states such as Texas, Florida, and California. In addition, the “slowed reopening of the New York City economy” has negatively affected the moviegoing industry as a whole.

Tenet’s release has already been pushed back twice now, and Handler predicts that an announcement of a further delay is very likely. Disney’s Mulan is in the same boat, as both movies were slated to debut earlier in the summer. Unlike Trolls World Tour, which went straight to premium VOD, both of the aforementioned movies are holding out for a theatrical debut. Tenet was moved to August back in June, when America collectively thought that conditions would be trending positive by mid-to-late summer. As we’ve seen it play out, we now know that this pandemic is a much longer game.

The financial losses for movie theaters during the coronavirus pandemic have been brutal. Most theaters remain shuttered, while very few are barely squeaking by, relying on blockbusters such as Jaws and Jurassic Park to pull in meager audiences. Films that were released right before the outbreak, including The Invisible Man, have been making their rounds at the drive-in theater circuit. But for a big-ticket item like Nolan's Tenet, this setup simply won’t do. Handler imagines that movie theaters won't reopen until September “at the earliest.” And even when they do reopen, people most likely won’t be flocking to malls cineplexes right away. In this case, all Tenet can do is wait.

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