Will We Ever Actually See No Time To Die?
We’re now in 2021, and James Bond is set to finally return to the big screen. The question is… will we even get to see No Time To Die?
Back in early 2020, the 25th Bond film was the first to set off a chain reaction of Hollywood delays in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was originally pushed to November last year, but found itself postponed again as infection rates across the world failed to lower, inhibiting the movie’s (likely massive) audience from turning up to see it. Honestly, what are the chances we’ll even get to watch the film at all, any time soon?
Fans felt a bit hopeless when No Time To Die was given its second delay, especially when cinemas were still open at the time. Cineworld execs dubbed it ‘the final straw’ as the closure of all venues was announced. At the time, MGM, Universal, and Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli released a statement explaining it was to allow the film ‘to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience’.
At the time of writing, Daniel Craig’s last hurrah as the secret agent is set for release on April 2 this year. However, a lot of things need to go right for that date to remain in place.
The UK began its rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in December, with doses being extended to other, less vulnerable groups in the coming months.
While that’s great for Brits, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee we’ll see the film; there’s been no evidence to suggest cinemas are perilous zones for contracting the virus, however they were constantly forced to close under government restrictions. If MGM doesn’t see enough in terms of box office prospects, it’ll likely get delayed again.
Also, there’s the US. Look at Tenet’s box office performance; internationally, it amassed an impressive $357.8 million despite reduced seating and lesser venues. However, its domestic gross totalled to a measly $57.6 million.
That likely sparked Warner Bros. to debut all of its 2021 slate – including Godzilla vs. Kong and Dune – on HBO Max and cinemas at the same time across the pond. While unconfirmed, the UK will see something similar to Wonder Woman 1984’s release, which is hitting cinemas for a month before dropping on Sky Store.
The theatrical experience is evolving, MGM must be considering its options. The film cost $250 million to make, and with the wasted cash on marketing after two delays, the bills are getting bigger; an earlier report estimated No Time To Die is costing the studio $1 million every month in interest on the money borrowed to make it.
Hal Vogel, CEO of Vogel Capital Research, previously said, ‘MGM is suffering. Every major distributor at this point has a pile of unreleased expensive movies. The pile grows larger by the day,’ The Hollywood Reporter reports.
He added, ‘These films are inventory. They are sitting there with no return on their investment. Even with low interest rates, the interest costs are piling up. So going the streaming route is not that crazy. You’ve spent the money. And you’re not getting it back anytime soon.’
Apple reportedly offered between $350-400 million for a 12-month streaming licence on No Time To Die. However, MGM was looking for bigger figures, as high as $800 million.
If all is well, April will be a great month for Bond fans. But they should err on the side of caution; after the hellfire of 2020, movie distribution is changing, audience behaviours have shifted to home entertainment faster than planned, and studios are under immense pressure. Another delay would simply feel like an aftershock of last year.
No Time To Die is set for release on April 2 in the UK.
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CreditsThe Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter