Bond 25 questions: The new delay edition Part II

No Time to Die poster with updated release date

Huh. In the middle of a ranging pandemic, No Time to Die got delayed again, this time to October 2021. Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is anybody really surprised?

No. Both the U.S. and U.K. aren’t doing very well coping with COVID-19. Movie theaters in many markets are closed or operating at limited capacity. And various other “tentpole” movies are looking to delay.

Also, movies are hardly alone. There was a report by The Times of London (summarized by Reuters) that the 2021 Olympics in Japan, already postponed from last year, may get canceled altogether. Olympics organizers responded with a statement that they’re “fully focused” on holding the games this summer.

Vaccines have been developed, but at least in the U.S., deployment has been slow.

Anything unusual about the announcement itself?

Very short, very terse. COVID wasn’t referenced. No other reason given. Maybe by this time, the publicity machine at Eon Productions figures everybody knows the score. All Eon needed was to provide the date.

Anything else?

The announcement on Eon’s official website said No Time to Die will be released “globally” on Oct. 8. Typically, Bond films are spread out a bit, often starting in the U.K. but not arriving in the U.S. until days later. We’ll see if a simultaneous release actually happens.

Any reactions of your own?

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, is in a box. MGM reportedly 1) shopped No Time to Die to streaming services but couldn’t get the price it wanted 2) didn’t tell its business partner (Eon) right away. The result was another chapter in a 40-year dysfunctional relationship.

MGM is in a box for another reason. No Time to Die’s cost was approaching $290 million as of mid-2020, according to a U.K. regulatory filing. MGM also reportedly is incurring $1 million a month in interest expenses for the money it borrowed to finance the movie.

MGM and Eon thought they had a $1 billion global box office blockbuster on their hands. That was pre-COVID.

The studio really needs No Time to Die to be a blockbuster at theaters before a home video release. It remains to be seen how quickly people will return to theaters even with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Finally, all of this is taking place as MGM reportedly is up for sale. Bond is the studio’s big asset and having all this uncertainty probably isn’t helping the sales process.

No Time to Die delayed until October

No Time to Die’s release date was pushed back by six months to Oct. 8, according to the official Eon Productions 007 website and a post on Twitter.

No reason was given. The website statement, in its entirety, read: “No Time To Die will be released in cinemas globally on 8 October 2021.” The Twitter post said even less. “NO TIME TO DIE 8 October 2021.”

The 25th James Bond film has been pushed back twice before (from April 2020 to November 2020 and November 2020 to April 2021) because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus outbreak has at times forced movie theaters to close.

COVID-19 likely is a factor. The virus continues to hits some markets, including the U.S. and U.K., hard. Another delay has been expected by many Bond fans.

No Time to Die’s cost approached $290 million as of mid-2020, according to a U.K. regulatory filing. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, had been counting on a robust theatrical run before the pandemic started.

Here’s the tweet from the official 007 account.