Fukunaga says NTTD is done, won’t be tweaked

Cary Joji Fukunaga

The director of No Time to Die, in an exchange that’s part of an Instagram post, says the 25th James Bond movie is done, with no further tweaking.

“(W)e had to put our pencils down when we finished our post production window which was thankfully before COVID shut everything else down,” Fukunaga wrote.

He made a separate response to another question of why not use the delay in the movie’s release date to do polishing.

“(S)hort answer is money,” the director said. “And although Bond is a big movie, we still have to weigh cost with value.” Fukunaga added the movie “is great as it is.”

The exchanges were spotted by @antonvolk, who included it in a tweet.

In early March, No Time to Die’s release date was moved to November from April. Since then, movies have been delayed as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) caused movie theaters to close and many businesses to be shut down.

Some YouTube channels suggested the real reason was the movie needed reshoots. However, since the early March announcement, production of movies and many TV shows has been shut down because of COVID-19.

@antonvolk’s tweet with a screenshot of Fukunaga’s comments is below.


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.

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.

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.

Even James Bond isn’t immune from a pandemic

Even James Bond isn’t immune from a pandemic

Agent 007, nor his many fans, are immune from a pandemic.

In the first three days of this month, a number of James Bond fans were skeptical that No Time to Die’s release date needed to be pushed back.

That seems like an eternity ago. Since then, theaters in Italy and France were closed. Weeks before that, theaters in China had been closed.

Some Bond sites said the coronavirus was serious and the No Time to Die release pans needed to be considered.

The studios involved, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (U.S. via its United Artists Releasing joint venture with Annapurna) and Univeral (international) opted to push No Time to Die back to November.

Other Bond sites opposed the move, one saying that it ruined “Bond fun.” Some may have deleted previous criticism of the idea of delaying No Time to Die’s release.

Since then, several movies also delayed their release dates. In the U.S., sports leagues and events have been canceled or postponed without replacement dates.

At least some of those who objected to the No Time to Die delay haven’t acknowledged those subsequent facts. That’s how it goes.

In the past 10 days, the No Time to Die delay has become part of a much larger calamity. Movies delayed. Trade shows canceled. Broadways shut down. Concern grows whether more severe steps need to be taken.

As the blog has said before, it’s time to get real. Pandemics don’t happen that often. But we’re in one now.

UPDATE (9 p.m., New York time): Olga Kurylenko, who played the lead female part in 2008’s Quantum of Solace, said in an Instagram post that she has tested positive for coronavirus.

UPDATE (11:25 p.m., New York time): Movie theaters in New York and Los Angeles have been ordered to close because of the pandemic, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Coronavirus cancellations/postponements pile up

No Time to Die poster

It turns out No Time to Die was ahead of the curve on this one.

A number of movies, television shows, sports events, and concerts have been among the events affected by the spread of the coronavirus.

No Time to Die’s delay from April to November was announced March 4.

Since then, the list of affected events has piled up. Just a sampling:

Movie release date changes: Besides No Time to Die, My Spy, Peter Rabbit 2, A Quiet Place Part II, F9: The Fast Saga (ninth installment of The Fast and the Furious series), and Mulan have been delayed. CLICK HERE for a more complete list.

Sports events: The NCAA basketball tournament (both men’s and women’s divisions), a number of athletic conference basketball tournaments, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the Australian Grand Prix, and The Master’s golf tournament have been canceled or postponed.

Concerts: A number of concerts, including part of Billie Eilish’s current tour, have been called off. Eilish performs the No Time to Die title song and she is a hot property after winning a lot of Grammy awards.

Television shows: Late-night shows in the U.S. are going on a hiatus. There have been announcements of other delays amid coronavirus concerns.

Bond 25: Time to get real

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter


Over the past week, some Bond fans have gotten upset.

They were mad about a March 2 open letter from the MI6 James Bond website and The James Bond Dossier that urged a delay in the premiere for No Time to Die because of the coronavirus.

Two days later, Eon Productions announced that the movie would be delayed until November.

Was that because of the open letter? Likely not. The open letter merely drew attention to issues that studio executives, et. al., were already looking at.

The announcement referenced “the global theatrical marketplace.” It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce this was probably a reference to the coronavirus. Since then, there have been other changes in movie release dates.

Nevertheless, some Bond fans are still mad. How dare the authors of the open letter speak for all fans?

Of course, the open letter never said it was on behalf of ALL fans. It cited how key international markets in China, South Korea, and Japan had been affected. Since the open letter was posted, the disease has spread. Italy now has been shut down.

Some fans are still mad about the open letter. Such fans argue that the delay may have been the right move, but the open letter should never have been written.

Whatever. It’s time to move on. The coronavirus has continued to spread. The World Health Organization today declared the coronavirus is a pandemic.

To be clear, I often am a guest on the James Bond & Friends podcast produced by the MI6 James Bond site. I have not given the site a heads up that I was doing this post.

We are in a pandemic. It’s time to put aside arguments and debates. No Time to Die’s debut has been delayed. Instead of attacking other Bond fans, it’s time to prepare for what is to come.

UPDATE (March 12): Since this post was published, a number of other films have seen their release date pushed back. Variety reported that Fast & Furious 9 is being delayed by almost a year. It had been set for release on May 22, 2020. Movies in the series depend heavily on markets outside the U.S.

According to a post from the movie’s Twitter feed, the 9th installment will come out in April 2021.

Bond 25 questions: The coronavirus delay edition

Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond

James Bond defeated the likes of Dr. No, Rosa Klebb, Auric Goldfinger, Blofeld, et. al. But even 007 had to retreat in the face of a potential pandemic with the delay of No Time to Die pushed back to November.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

What happened? The coronavirus (technical name COVID-19). It surfaced in China at the end of 2019. It spread to Japan, South Korea, Italy, and other nations. There have now been deaths in the U.S. from the disease.

Why is that such a big deal? COVID-19, at this point, is very contagious. It also is more potent than normal seasonal flu.

Seasonal flu has a death rate of between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent. The new coronavirus had been estimated at 2 percent. The World Health Organization then raised it to 3.4 percent. But that’s a moving target, subject to revision as more data becomes available. The 1918 “Spanish flu” had a death rate of about 2.5 percent. It killed between 20 million and 50 million globally.

Is there a broader context? Yes. Theaters in China have been closed for weeks. Coronavirus outbreaks in Europe have had results, including the cancellation of this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Some countries are cracking down on events with mass gatherings in an effort to cut back on spread of the disease. Many major companies are eliminating travel for employees for now.

How did No Time to Die get involved? The 25th James Bond film’s Beijing premiere was canceled a while back. So was a publicity tour in China, South Korea and Japan.

Earlier this week, the MI6 James Bond website and The James Bond Dossier published an open letter urging Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Universal (the international distributor) to delay the movie’s March 31 premiere. The letter noted that major markets for Bond films already had been affected by the coronavirus, with more impact to come.

The open letter went viral. Over the next two days, a number of outlets wrote about the open letter, beginning with The Hollywood Reporter. Others include the BBC, Variety, IndieWire, The Guardian, Daily Mail, and Uproxx among others.

Chances are Eon, MGM and Universal were already thinking about it. But the global reaction to the open letter had to be a factor.

What happens next? Presumably the publicity build-up goes on hold and we’ll come back to it later.

For what it’s worth, Bond films since 1995’s GoldenEye have been released in either November or December. No Time to Die  is back in that part of the calendar. But the delay does cement the 2015-2020 gap between SPECTRE and No Time to Die as the second-longest in the history of the Eon series.

No Time to Die delayed to November because of coronavirus

Daniel Craig/James Bond character poster

The release of No Time to Die was delayed until November because of the coronavirus, it was announced today.

“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, announced today that after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of NO TIME TO DIE will be postponed until November 2020,” according to a tweet on the official Eon 007 account on Twitter.

In a follow-up tweet, it was specified the U.K. release was now Nov. 12, 2020 while the U.S. release will be on Nov. 25.

The move comes amid the spread of the disease, with governments moving to clamp down on places where large numbers of people gather.

Movie theaters in China have been closed for weeks. There have been outbreaks in Europe that resulted in the closing of the Louvre museum in Paris and the cancelation of this year’s Geneva Motor Show.

The 25th James Bond film had been set to premiere on March 31 in London, with an April 2 release. The U.S. release had been set for April 10.

Earlier this week, the MI6 James Bond website and The James Bond Dossier had published an open letter to Eon and the studios urging them to delay the film’s release. The open letter was then picked up in a number of outlets including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, IndieWire and others.

Here’s the first tweet:


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.