New Christopher Nolan film Tenet has been delayed again - here's why, and when you can watch it

Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 1:46 pm
(Photo: Warner Bros.)

On form for director Christopher Nolan, Tenet looks set to be another cerebral action thriller.

Starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh, the film was reportedly born of ideas conceived by the director over the course of 20 years.

Unfortunately, the blockbuster film has just suffered its third delay, and it's now not known just when the film could be released.

Here's everything you need to know about it.

What is Tenet about?

Where Inception explored the dream space with spectacular results, Tenet looks set to delve into the machinations of time itself, and like Nolan's other brain-twisting hits, we probably won't really know for sure what's going on until we see it for ourselves.

It's steeped in mystery, so much so that John David Washington's lead character is simply known as "the Protagonist".

From the trailer released a number of months ago, we can see the film is heavily inspired by spy movies, though Nolan has said he made efforts to abstain from any influence of the genre other than his own memory.

It also features a large focus on time-bending set-pieces, with action flowing both forward and in reverse - it's no coincidence the film's title is a palindrome.

The film's synopsis reads as follows: "Armed with only one word - Tenet - and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time."

Why was it delayed?

Tenet had originally been scheduled to debut in cinemas on 17 July, but due to the uncertainty thrown up by the coronavirus crisis - which closed cinemas around the world indefinitely just a few months before the film's planned release - the date was pushed back to 31 July, and then 12 August.

But though cinemas may be reopening in a number of countries, Warner Bros. are still playing it safe, and have now delayed the film indefinitely.

That means no new release date has been confirmed, so it's not clear how long film fans will have to wait to get their eyes on Nolan's latest epic.

Toby Emmerich, chairman of the studio's Pictures Group, said Warner Bros. was no longer treating the film like "a traditional global day-and-date release", adding that its upcoming marketing and distribution plans "will reflect that."

That suggests that the film will not be released simultaneously around the globe, and could mean that countries where coronavirus cases are relatively under control (and therefore cinemas are open) may get to see Tenet before those that are still battling epidemics.

It could also suggest that Tenet may come to streaming services, as a number of other high-profile, blockbuster releases have done so during the crisis, though its repeated delays suggest the movie is aiming for a theatrical release.

If it does eventually release in cinemas, Tenet is scheduled to be screened in IMAX, 35 mm and 70 mm formats, viewing experiences which are only possible on big screens.

When will it be released?

Again, Warner Bros. have not announced a new release date for Tenet, and the date it does eventually come to cinemas (if indeed it ever does) is likely highly dependent on how the continued coronavirus pandemic plays out.

Mr Emmerich did say that a release date would be shared "imminently."