For Japanese fans of Hollywood blockbusters, this year has been, well, a bust. Afraid that releasing their comic book-inspired movies and other multiplex fare in the middle of a pandemic meant dropping them down a black hole, Hollywood studios have delayed release after release both in the U.S. and worldwide. One result is that Japanese movies have had the local market pretty much to themselves throughout the summer and into the fall.

“Tenet,” Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic that spent years in development and production, was no exception. Initially set for a July 17 domestic opening by distributor Warner Bros., the film was postponed three times, until Warner finally decided to release it internationally in 70 countries, including Japan, with the rollout starting Aug. 26.

In COVID-19-ravaged North America, "Tenet" opened Sept. 3 in select cities, but hasn't been able to bring a pandemic-weary populace back to cinemas. By Sept. 27, it had earned only $41.2 million compared to its estimated production budget of $200 million.