No Time to Die’s box

New No Time to Die poster

No Time to Die is in a box. The question is whether it can claw its way out.

It’s an expensive movie: Because of U.K. regulatory filings by B25 Ltd., a subsidiary of Eon Productions, we know the production budget was at least 199.47 million British pounds (more than $240 million). That doesn’t include marketing costs.

The movie’s revenue streams are limited: No Time to Die was made before the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). But it is to be distributed in a COVID-19 world.

The conventional thinking is a big blockbuster like No Time to Die needs both a theatrical release and a healthy digital/home video release.

In a COVID-19 world, the theatrical portion of that equation has a lot of uncertainty. Theaters, when they open, won’t be able to sell all their seats.

Assuming No Time to Die makes its current November release date, how many seats can theaters sell? 25 percent? 50 percent? At this point, much higher than that doesn’t seem possible.

For that matter, how comfortable will people feel going back to movie theaters, even if they could sell all their seats?

At the same time, video on demand alone doesn’t seem to be the way for a studio (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has been financing the film) to get its money back, much less generate the profit it’s counting on.

In the U.S., all 50 states are trying to revive their economies. Other countries are trying to do so as well. But it appears theaters may be among the last businesses to open up to the extent they operated before COVID-19.

No Tie to Die was made during the existence of one world. It will be shown (eventually) in the existence of another.

That’s the box No Time to Die is in. How it fares remains to be seen.

4 Responses

  1. Great perspective! It’s a troubling situation for sure. Fingers crossed!

  2. EON and the Broccoli kids placed themselves into this cinematic conundrum. I didn’t see a shred of evidence suggesting that MGM, or Universal, or eve the Theater chains were demandign a $240 million gozilla of a movie that will probably take 3-hours to unspool. If you set yourself up for failure, you will fail. The Covid-19 excuse is a nice try, but it won’t work. I see 2021 as a earth-shattering year in which many studios will merge, become laughably small, or end up being gobbled up by Netflix, Amaxon, or Apple. Sad but true.

  3. Won’t a big part of the budget have been covered by product placement, as usual?

  4. Product placement defrays marketing costs (participating companies often buy ads promoting the movie) but usually isn’t a direct subsidy of the production budget.

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