Epilogue: Yes, it really was serious

No Time to Die character poster

Once upon a time, today, April 2, was supposed to be the start of regular showings of No Time to Die in the U.K.

Not quite a month ago, the release of the 25th James Bond movie was pushed back to November because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

For some time thereafter, there were complaints.

It’s just the flu. It wasn’t. The death rate from seasonal flu is about 0.1 percent. The death rate from COVID-19 is higher.

It’s only the old and the sick who are at risk. They may be the most at risk, but COVID-19 has taken the lives of people of various ages. Click HERE, HERE, and HERE for examples.

I could go on. Regardless, there are now more than 1 million confirmed cases globally and more than 50,000 deaths as of 5 p.m., New York time, according to The Washington Post. We won’t know the final figures for some time.

But, yes, COVID-19 was always a big deal. It was always bigger than the release of No Time to Die.

MGM says NTTD delay was ‘the right call at the right time’

MGM’s Leo the Lion logo

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s chief operating officer this week told investors that delaying No Time to Die to November was “the right call at the right time.”

Christopher Brearton, on a conference call with investors, said the studio acted quickly and was “able to secure Bond’s place on the release calendar…This was the right decision for MGM and the storied James Bond franchise.”

No Time to Die, the 25th Bond film, had been set for release in April, with a world premiere on March 31.

On March 4, the release date was changed to Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 25 in the U.S. The move took place as the coronavirus pandemic began disrupting the entertainment industry, with theaters closing and productions being shut down. No Time to Die was one of the first major films to be delayed.

Since then, a number of expensive films — the ninth Fast and the Furious installment, Marvel’s Black Widow and Warner Bros.’s Wonder Woman 1984, among them — have given up their original release dates.

Since 1995, Bond films have mostly come out in November in the U.S.

“That window has worked,” Brearton said. He called the new November schedule “an advantageous release date.”

NTTD doesn’t need major reshoots, Baz says

No Time to Die does not require major reshoots, Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail said Thursday night.

The 25th James Bond film is “loaded and ready to go for its November release,” the Daily Mail scribe said.

During the production of Skyfall and SPECTRE, Bamigboye had a number of scoops proven to be correct. Bamigboye has not been as active covering No Time to Die.

No Time to Die had been scheduled for a March 31 world premiere. The Bond film would then be released in April 2 in the U.K. and April 10 in the United States.

The release was pushed back to November because of the coronavirus earlier this month. But there have been suspicions the real reason was to perform reshoots.

An excerpt from the Daily Mail story:

Pernicious rumours circulating that its opening date was shifted from April because it was unfinished are wide of the mark.
(snip)

‘It was finished. Perhaps there might have been a little spot of ADR [the industry term for rerecording dialogue] but if it does need it, then that can be achieved quickly, as soon as the restrictions are lifted.’

Meanwhile, No Time To Die has, literally, been locked away.

At this point, with a global pandemic raging, No Time to Die is on the back burner. The first priority for many nations is trying to cope with the virus. The Bond film won’t be out for months.

Bond 25: Reflections on what could have been

New No Time to Die poster

In another life, I would have been traveling to London on March 27 ahead of events scheduled for the March 31 premiere of No Time to Die.

Life changes. In our universe, that means a pandemic that resulted in the cancelation of the world premiere for the 25th James Bond film.

Had the original plans played out it would have been a second honeymoon. Things didn’t play out that way.

That was then, this is now.

A pandemic has changed everything. Many thousands have died from the COVID-19 pandemic. In some countries, medical authorities have been forced to select who lives and who dies.

Travel has been shut down. No Time to Die’s premiere has been pushed back to November.

For some, Bond is like a religion. For others, it’s just a movie.

Regardless, the world has changed over just the past two months.

No matter how disappointed you feel, No Time to Die is just a movie. No matter how long it takes, we’ll get a chance to see it — assuming we all survive the pandemic.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is more potent than the seasonal flu. It requires everybody to take care and be safe.

The blog wishes everyone to be careful. Hopefully, we’ll all get a chance to see No Time to Die at a time when it’s appropriate.

Hilarious 007 ‘reports’ over the past five years

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

The world is a grim place right now and we could all use a laugh. So, in that spirit, here is a partial list of questionable reports involving the James Bond film franchise over the past five years.

The Bond series will be a period piece overseen by the Mad Men showrunner!

In October 2015, the Sunday Express reported that “studio bosses” (it cited an MGM executive who wasn’t identified) had asked Matthew Weiner, the creator/showrunner of the now-defunct TV show Mad Men ” to head a new team to oversee Bond’s return to his heyday 1960s.” This would occur after the departure of star Daniel Craig.

This story, of course, appeared shortly before the debut of 2015’s SPECTRE, the most recent James Bond film.

Mad Men was set in the 1960s. One episode referred to both the 1967 Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice (as well as a 1965 episode of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.)

Left unanswered by the story: What happens to Eon Productions and its producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson? Reading the story in 2020 also is unintentionally hilarious given the soap opera surrounding the production of the next Daniel Craig Bond film.

Daniel Craig was being offered $150 million to stay as Bond!

In September 2016, an outfit called Radar Online said that Sony Pictures was offering Craig $150 million to play Bond in two more movies.

Problem: Sony’s involvement with the franchise ended with SPECTRE. The studio sought to continue the relationship but that didn’t happen.

Second problem: Paying Craig $75 million per film? Really? Some Daniel Craig fans contacted the blog to claim this made perfect financial sense. Later, Variety reported Craig’s paycheck for Bond 25/No Time to Die was $25 million.

Studio bosses want Bond 25 out by November 2018!

In December 2016, the tabloid Mirror chimed in with a story saying MGM was getting nervous and Bond 25 was supposed to be out by November 2018. (Oops).

Bond 25 will be called Shatterhand but be based on a Bond continuation novel!

There has been a long-held fan theory that Shatterhand (a Blofeld alias in the You Only Live Twice novel) would be a great title for a Bond film. But in July 2017, the Mirror had a novel twist on this.

This version said Bond 25 would be called Shatterhand but be based on a Bond continuation novel, Never Dream of Dying, by Raymond Benson. Benson said nobody from the Mirror had contacted him about the story. This was a few weeks before Craig finally announced he was coming back to play Bond in one movie.

Danny Boyle’s haunting laugh!

By now, Bond fans know the Danny Boyle saga. The director had suddenly become a contender, in early 2018, to direct Bond 25. Then, in May 2018, he was announced as the director. And then in August 2018, he was out because of “creative differences.”

In March 2018, Boyle talked briefly about the prospect of directing Bond. At that point, he was working with scribe John Hodge on a script. But around the 25-second mark of this Associated Press video, Boyle lets out with a laugh that comes across as haunting given subsequent events.

No surprise: NTTD soundtrack delayed

No Time to Die character poster

Hardly a surprise but the Decca Records website has been updated to show that the No Time to Die soundtrack has been delayed to Nov. 13.

On March 4, the release date of the 25th James Bond film was pushed back to Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 25 in the United States.

Originally, the soundtrack was to have come out around the same time as the movie’s original release date of early April. The world premiere had been set for March 31.

Initially, the soundtrack listing didn’t change its date, leading some fans to hope (against hope, as it turns out) that would remain the case.

No such luck. The score for the film was composed by Hans Zimmer, with additional music by Steve Mazzaro, one of the 64 composers (the total went up by one recently) involved with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company.

h/t @antovolk

Bond 25 questions: End of times edition

New No Time to Die poster

With the coronavirus, aka COVID-19, going around the globe, life isn’t the way it used to be. Theaters are shut down in many markets. High-profile sporting events are indefinitely delayed. Many people, if they haven’t been laid off, are working from home.

Even from a narrow James Bond perspective, things aren’t the way they used to be. Naturally, the blog has questions.

How confident are you of No Time to Die’s new November release date?

Get back to me when we know how the coronavirus plays out.

The virus has been as serious as advertised. It’s clearly more potent than regular seasonal flu.

The latter has a death rate of about 0.1 percent. The coronavirus has a death rate of 3.4 percent at the moment, although that’s subject to revision as more data comes in. But it’s likely to remain far higher than seasonal flu.

Also to be seen is how long the coronavirus stays around. The virus now officially is a pandemic. The last similar event was the 1918-19 Spanish flu, which killed tens of millions of people around the globe.

No Time to Die was among the first big movies to announce a delay in release. Meanwhile, F9, the ninth Fast and the Furious movie, has been pushed back 11 months to April 2021. Black Widow, the newest Marvel Studios film, has been delayed without a specific release date.

Are there entertainment industry events that give you pause?

Studios have announced early video-on-demand releases. This has raised the idea that maybe movies will bypass theaters altogether. The Wrap entertainment website reported that Warner Bros. is discussing taking Wonder Woman 1984 directly to streaming. (UPDATE: IndieWire says it was told by Warner Bros. that Wonder Woman will get a full theatrical run).

At the same time, Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter has a story that notes the math is more difficult for big expensive “tentpole” movies to go this route. Such films need theatrical releases as an additional revenue stream. With an estimated production budget of $250 million, No Time to Die qualifies as a “tentpole”.

Does all this make you feel unsettled?

Of course. I live in the U.S. California is on lockdown. New York City is almost there.

There are many industries that are being affected by the coronavirus. North American auto plants are being shut down temporarily, for example. The only thing that seems uncertain is the impact of the coronavirus isn’t ending soon.