Bond’s one undefeatable foe: COVID-19

Even James Bond seems unable to defeat COVID-19. Whatever the final outcome, the coronavirus, including its more infectious Delta variant, has wrecked marketing plans for the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die.

What once seemed possible, a global box office of $1 billion, now appears remote. The coronavirus also is a moving target and still is a wild card.

A newsletter from the former editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter said that the studios behind No Time to Die were committed to the current release window of Sept. 30 in the U.K. (and other countries) and Oct. 8 in the U.S.

Only hours after the newsletter by Matthew Belloni arrived at email in-boxes on Aug. 19, news came via MI6 HQ that the release date of the movie had been pushed back to Nov. 11 in Australia and New Zealand.

So far, excluding Australia and New Zealand, No Time to Die has been delayed three times because of COVID-19. The Australia-New Zealand situation raises the possibility of a fourth global postponement, contrary to Belloni’s reporting.

Now, studios generally are grappling with whether to press ahead or delay movies again. But delays are hardly a guarantee — witness the delays with No Time to Die alone. The movie still hasn’t been released almost two years after principal photography concluded.

Delays also drive up marketing costs as advertising campaigns have to be restarted each time. A lot of ads for No Time to Die — including a pricy Super Bowl ad in 2020 — came to naught.

The pandemic era began in early 2020. Since then, what had become almost common — $1 billion or more box office for movies — has gone away. That’s something expensive movies such as No Time to Die (its production budget was around $300 million) came to depend on.

Exhibitor Relations Co., which tracks box office data, put out this list of top Hollywood box office movies during the pandemic era.

Some day, No Time to Die will be out. Chances are it will do better at the box office than many films. At the same time, the cinema Bond has been bloodied. As the blog has said before, No Time to Die was conceived and filmed during one era. It will debut in another era where the rules changed.

One Response

  1. That’s it….. I’m officially fucking over it. Been a life-long Bond fan, but just so tired of the shifting goalposts for this one.

    Someone please have the testicular fortitude to PICK A DATE AND STICK WITH IT or tell me when this piece of shit makes it to DVD…

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