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John David Washington in Tenet

For a while, Tenet held on strongly to its original July 17 release date. but like so many movies have been since March, it’s since been pushed back. Right now, the plan is for Christopher Nolan’s latest movie to hit theaters on August 12, but one box office analyst believes that it won’t hit this target date due to the still-raging health crisis hitting movie theaters hard.

Eric Handler of MKM Partners stated that there’s a “low likelihood” that Tenet will arrive in theaters next month, per the note he provided to clients (via Deadline) regarding his updated outlook on several exhibition stocks. This is because so many movie theaters chains remain closed, and while there are plans for chains like AMC and Regal to reopen their venues in the coming weeks, the surging COVID-19 pandemic is bound to complicate said plans.

As such, Eric Handler believes the soonest Tenet, or frankly any new release, could play on a silver screen is in September. As he put it:

The near-term outlook for exhibition related stocks remains extremely clouded. It would be surprising to see theaters able to re-open nationwide before September, at the earliest.

Theaters began shuttering back in March when the spread of the coronavirus ramped up globally. This resulted in a lot of movies, both completed and in the midst of production, pushing their release dates back, though a handful of movies that were about to come out ended up going straight to VOD or streaming. Even on the off chance you stumbled upon an independent location or a drive-in providing theatrical entertainment, there’s been no new content to throw up on the big screens, resulting in older movies like The Empire Strikes Back and Jurassic Park being shown to customers.

So far, Tenet has been delayed twice, with Warner Bros first pushing it from July 17 to July 31, and then slotting into August 12. For now, the studio is sticking with the August 12 drop, with posters and TV spots showing off the release date, but that doesn’t guarantee that Tenet won’t be moved yet again. Should that happen, it’ll be interesting to see if Warner Bros transitions Tenet it into a fall/winter release, or if it decides to be more cautious and save the Nolan flick for 2021.

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Looking at the overall theatrical picture, Eric Handler believes that 2020 box office levels will plunge 70% compared to 2019’s haul of $11.4 billion. While Tenet, among other blockbuster releases still slated for this year, might be able to decrease the damage, theaters find themselves in a difficult position right now, as they can’t fully operate without new movies to show, yet enclosed spaces such as those are still hotbeds for spreading disease, even with certain mask policies and cleaning procedures in place.

While specific plot details are still being kept under wraps, Tenet follows a secret agent and his allies working to stop World War III from occurring, with a strange phenomena called time inversion factoring into the narrative. The cast includes John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, Dimple Kapadia and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates concerning Tenet, including whether it’s delayed for a third time. For now, keep track of all the other movies that have been pushed back with our detailed guide.

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