MI6 site urges NTTD delay because of coronavirus

No Time to Die poster

The MI6 James Bond website urged No Time to Die’s production company and studios to delay the release of the 25th 007 film because of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

With the coronavirus “reaching pandemic status, it is time to put public health above marketing release schedules and the cost of canceling publicity events,” the site said.

No Time to Die’s world premiere is scheduled for March 31 in London.

“Hundreds of fans and celebrities from around the world will be flying to the UK to attend,” MI6 said of the premiere.

“The Royal Albert Hall capacity is above the 5,000 limit that affected countries are banning for public gatherings. Just one person, who may not even show symptoms, could infect the rest of the audience. This is not the type of publicity anyone wants.”

The letter suggested delaying the release until summer “when experts expect the epidemics to have peaked and to be under control.”

The coronavirus first broke out in China. That country has closed its movie theaters. No Time to Die’s Beijing premiere was canceled as was a publicity tour for China, South Korea and Japan.

Since then, there have been outbreaks in Europe. The Geneva Motor Show, a major auto industry event, has been canceled for this year after the Swiss government banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people through March 15. In Paris, the Louvre museum has been closed because of the virus.

“Developed nations that are suffering from community spread of the virus, including Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea have banned large public gatherings,” MI6 said. “Italy closed all cinemas in their ‘red zone’ last night. The outbreaks in the UK and the USA are just starting to trend towards epidemics.”

The MI6 site’s article was written as an open letter to Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the Bond franchise’s home studio) and Universal, which is handling international distribution.

The letter was signed by James Page, co-founder of MI6 and MI6 Confidential magazine, and David Leigh, founder of The James Bond Dossier website.

Disclosure: MI6 also produces the James Bond & Friends podcast, where I sometimes appear as a guest.