Movie theaters hoped to be back in business in a big way this fall, attracting stir-crazy audiences with a slate of blockbusters that included “Tenet,” “Mulan,” and “No Time to Die.” For an industry that had been brought to its knees by the coronavirus pandemic, with closures that left them without revenues for much of the year, nothing was more important than a grand and successful reopening.

Unfortunately, more than a month after “Tenet” debuted to disappointing box office results, the exhibition sector is in an even more dire situation. “Mulan” opted to debut as a premium on-demand offering via Disney Plus. “No Time to Die” pushed its premiere back into April, and several other movies have postponed their releases into next spring or summer when, studios hope, a vaccine will be widely available. On Saturday, Cineworld, one of the world’s largest exhibitors, announced that it was considering closing its theaters down, citing the lack of major releases available to screen. Other exhibitors may follow suit.

John Fithian, head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, believes that the main stumbling block preventing movie theaters from rebounding is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to keep cinemas closed indefinitely. That’s robbing studios of a major market to show their films, Fithian argues, which may jeopardize the release of upcoming blockbusters such as “Wonder Woman 1984” and Pixar’s “Soul.” In an interview with Variety, the theater business’s top lobbyist urged studios to keep releasing movies during the pandemic and warned that the industry faces financial ruin without government assistance.

“No Time to Die” has delayed its release until 2021. What impact will that have on the exhibition industry?

The Bond franchise is very important to exhibition, so we were disappointed with the move. The failure of Gov. Cuomo to allow movie theaters

Movie theaters were already teetering on the edge of financial disaster. On Friday, exhibitors received news that could push them over the precipice after “No Time to Die,” the latest James Bond installment, made the decision to push its release from November into April, 2021.

The move could set off a wave of theater closures as cinema owners assess whether they can keep the marquee lights on until “Wonder Woman 1984,” the next potential blockbuster slated for release this year, opens at Christmas. It also shows that even the most potent film franchise (and few series equal 007 in terms of global reach) is no match for a coronavirus pandemic that has shattered the theatrical distribution landscape.

Only a handful of movies have been released since cinemas shut down in March, and most of the films that were scheduled to open by the end of the year, a group that includes “West Side Story” and “Black Widow,” have opted to delay their debuts. Now, the postponement of “No Time to Die” will rob the exhibition industry of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue at a time when many are grappling with insolvency.

“It’s a wipeout,” said one studio veteran.

Box office analysts appear to agree: There’s no relief in sight for the movie business.

“The theatrical landscape is a vortex, and it’s clear that no big blockbuster can survive right now,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “That’s why everything is going to be pushed back to 2021.”

As it currently stands, movie theaters are looking at an October and a November that are largely devoid of major titles — a situation that’s been exacerbated by the disappointing box office returns for “Tenet,” the Christopher Nolan epic that opened in September. Pixar’s “Soul” is still scheduled for