Christopher Nolan reportedly wanted Tenet to be the movie that reopened theaters this summer after the pandemic. The film held firm to its original release date, July 17, for months, long after most of its competition had vacated its original release dates for later in 2020 or the summer of 2021. Then, when the pandemic worsened and it became clear theaters couldn’t safely reopen in July, the movie was bumped back to late July, then to August.

Things have still not gotten better — and today Warner Bros. announced the film was now postponed indefinitely, although the claim they will provide a new release date “imminently.” Here’s Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures statement on the news:

Our goals throughout this process have been to ensure the highest odds of success for our films while also being ready to support our theater partners with new content as soon as they could safely reopen. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from exhibitors and remain steadfast in our commitment to the theatrical experience around the world. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to proliferate, causing us to reevaluate our release dates. Amidst all this continued uncertainty, we have decided to vacate the current dates for our next two releases. We will share a new 2020 release date imminently for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature. We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that.

Emmerich also announced that The Conjuring 3 was also getting delayed, to June 4, 2021.

This decision marks major news, not only for fans waiting to see Tenet but to the theatrical movie industry, which has been hoping to finally reopen for the first time since March for movies like Tenet and Disney’s Mulan, which is still technically dated to open on August 21, but seems likely to move as well. Without Tenet (and perhaps without Mulan, if that gets delayed), even if theaters can reopen at some point in the near future, they won’t have much to show besides older titles and smaller indie films. Forget about risking your life to see a new Christopher Nolan movie, would you risk your life to see The Goonies or Jaws? That’s a lot to ask.

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