Hindsight: Boyle-directed Bond 25

Danny Boyle

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20-20.

So, if Danny Boyle and Eon Productions hadn’t parted ways in August 2018, Bond 25 presumably would have made its original November 2019 release date.

Of course, it didn’t play out that way. Cary Fukunaga was hired as Boyle’s replacement.

Once that occurred, Bond 25 (later No Time to Die) was scheduled to come out Feb. 14, 2020. But that didn’t work out and the release was pushed back to April 2020 — this month.

That’s the comfort of hindsight. Maybe Bond 25 would have been handicapped by an Odd Couple relationship between Boyle and Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions.

There’s no way to know for now. All fans know is Boyle exited because of “creative differences” between himself and Eon Productions.

The best evidence of a better alternative is the Fukunaga-directed No Time to Die, currently being stored where ever it may be. Fukunaga says the movie is locked down and won’t be tweaked until its current release date of November.

Movies evolve. Directors and writers come and go. For Bond fans spending their time at home because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), they can only wonder what could have been — and anticipate what is to come.

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.

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For now, Black Widow and Bond will be out in November

Poster for Black Widow

Movie studios continue to play a game of chess with release dates as the coronavirus slams the global economy.

Walt Disney Co. announced a series of release dates, according to Exhibitor Relations, which tracks movie box office.

Among the new dates is Black Widow, made by Disney’s Marvel unit, now scheduled to debut on Nov. 6 in the U.S.

Black Widow originally was slated to come out on May 1. The coronavirus, which resulted in movie theater closings in multiple countries, has forced many changes.

One of the first films to change dates was No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film. It originally was scheduled to be out on April 2 in the U.K. and April 10 in the U.S.

The Bond film currently is scheduled to be out in Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 25 in the U.S.

If all this holds up, Marvel’s leading espionage character will have her solo film the same month as No Time to Die.

How significant is this? With the coronavirus, everything is in flux. We’ll see how it goes.

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.