Tenet director Christopher Nolan once said his film is not a “time travel” movie, but that it does explore “the different ways in which time can function.” He probably never would’ve been able to imagine just how much life imitated his art—2020 has certainly taught us the different ways time can function. And by “function,” I mean “completely warp our previous sense of what time was because now days feel like weeks, weeks feel like months and years feel like watching The Irishman on an endless loop.”
After an uncertain series of summer release date announcements, Warner Bros. has removed Tenet from its release calendar, Variety reports.
“We will share a new 2020 release date imminently for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature,” Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement. “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.”
As Variety notes, Tenet has bounced around release dates this year given the unpredictable progress of the global pandemic rates:
Though necessary given the mass uncertainty over when cinemas across the globe can safely reopen, the decision further complicates Hollywood’s already bumpy plan to revive moviegoing. Tenet was originally scheduled to debut on July 17, but it was pushed back to July 31 and then Aug. 12.
“We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that,” Emmerich added. By “traditional,” this may mean that the film can be released overseas before it debuts in the U.S. Given its over $200 million budget (which doesn’t even include its marketing fees), the film may fare better premiering in China, which is the world’s second-largest movie market. However, exhibitors typically can’t screen films over 2 hours in length (Tenet is a bit over 2 hours and 30 minutes) so would have to make an exception for the film for this profitable pivot to work.
Sure, I may not know WTF this film is even about, but I was definitely looking forward to watching John David Washington star in Nolan’s first film with a Black lead actor. Hell, it would be Nolan’s first film with a non-white lead actor.
Not only was I looking forward to seeing the film, but seeing it in its intended form, as Nolan and his cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema filmed it using large-format and IMAX film. Warner Bros. (nor Nolan, I’d assume) certainly doesn’t seem interested in premiering the film in digital or VOD format so the wait shall continue.