The debut of Christopher Nolan's forthcoming film Tenet has been shelved by Warner Bros. who, after shuffling the spy action thriller's premiere date three times, has removed the movie from its theatre schedule in the U.S.

"Our goals throughout this process have been to ensure the highest odds of success for our films while also being ready to support our theatre partners with new content as soon as they could safely reopen," said Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, in a statement published by Deadline.

Emmerich acknowledged cinemas, saying: "We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from exhibitors and remain steadfast in our commitment to the theatrical experience around the world," but admitted that as the coronavirus pandemic has continued to proliferate, the studio was forced to reevaluate its releases.

"Amidst all this continued uncertainty, we have decided to vacate the current dates for our next two releases," he continued, explaining: "We will share a new 2020 release date imminently for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature."

Emmerich then hinted at an unconventional debut for the film, concluding: "We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that."

Online speculation has interpreted this to mean the film may open in China and other Asian countries before it hits screens in the U.S.