‘Tenet’ will get an international release before hitting US screens in September

“Tenet” has long been expected to be a bellwether for filmgoers’ readiness to return to theaters. Director Christopher Nolan is a blockbuster machine, and if anyone can get butts in seats amid the worst pandemic in modern memory, it’s probably him. And to be fair, the film really has served as a kind of litmus test — just not the kind Warner Bros. was hoping for.

After numerous delays, Tenet has a new release date. Not a final release date, mind. If there’s one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it’s that things can always get worse. For now, however, the mysterious sci-fi thriller is slated to hit theaters in select North American cities on September 3, for the Labor Day weekend.

Notably, however, the film will receive an international release in 70 territories next month. The list includes Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia and the U.K. While U.S. theater owners have eagerly been awaiting the film’s arrival, shutdowns in too many key markets have continued to make a wide release untenable. Among other things, the move can be viewed as a kind of indictment of the United States’ ongoing inability to curb the virus’s spread.

And while, as Variety notes, global day-and-date releases aren’t unheard of for these kinds of blockbusters, much of Tenet’s appeal has hinged on the film’s mysterious nature. The trailers thus far released for the film have remained purposefully obtuse. An international release ahead of the U.S. will almost certainly go a long ways toward removing some of that mystery through piracy and online spoilers.

Other upcoming releases “Mulan” and “A Quiet Place 2” have also seen further delays in recent days.