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NEW YORK: Christopher Nolan's hotly-awaited, super-secret sci fi epic "Tenet" will finally release internationally on August 26 before hitting a limited number of US screens in September, Warner Bros said Monday.

It is the fourth time the studio has announced a release date for the blockbuster because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut movie theaters across the world.

"Tenet" was originally due to hit screens on July 17, then July 31, before Warner Bros announced last week that it was delaying its third date of August 12.

The studio said in a statement that the movie will open in over 70 countries, including most of Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea on August 26.

The movie will then open in the US on Thursday, September 3 for the Labor Day holiday weekend, traditionally an important time for the cinema business.

It is unclear how many movie theaters will be open to show it.

The process of reopening theaters is a slow one at best, and one that has been interrupted by a resurgence of virus cases in several US states and elsewhere in the world.

Even in areas where theaters are open, attendance is not huge, as spectators are wary of the potential health risks.

AMC -- the largest cinema chain in the US -- recently postponed a gradual reopening from the end of July to mid-to-late August, without providing a specific date.

"Tenet," a thriller about an agency trying to ward off World War III, combines the big-budget spectacle and inventive storytelling that have made Nolan one of Hollywood's most sought-after directors.

From "Memento" to "Inception" to "Dunkirk" by way of the Batman "Dark Knight" trilogy, the creative British filmmaker has carved out a singular niche on the industry.

His clout is reflected in the colossal $205 million budget that US media reported was lavished on "Tenet," which stars John David Washington ("BlacKkKlansman"), Denzel Washington's son.