The Sun says No Time to Die may be delayed again

No Time to Die teaser poster

The Sun, Rupert Murdoch’s U.K. tabloid, said No Time to Die’s release date may be pushed back again because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Here’s an excerpt:

An LA source said: “There are very secret discussions moving forward about what to do.

“Bond films are massive money spinners; people forget Daniel’s work on Skyfall and Spectre staved off potential bankruptcy for the MGM company with its profits.

“This is business. And business decisions have to be made.

“Simply put having No Time To Die earning less than half a billion at the box office would be deemed a disaster – no matter the circumstances.”

The 25th James Bond film originally was set to come out in November 2019 in the U.S. It got pushed back to February 2020 and then, finally, seemed set for April 2020.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. No Time to Die then was delayed to November of this year.

While COVID-19 cases have subsided in some regions, they are still reaching new highs in the U.S. market, which accounts for about 25 percent of a Bond film’s global box office haul. In the U.S., states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona and California are suffering major COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Sun’s unconfirmed story says a decision on a release date may be announced by the end of the month.

No Time to Die is being released by United Artists releasing (co-owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio) in the U.S. and by Universal internationally.

Broccoli & Wilson considered ‘shutting down’ B25: EW

Daniel Craig/James Bond character poster

Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson “considered shutting down” No Time to Die “entirely” after the film’s first director, Danny Boyle departed, Entertainment Weekly said, citing comments from Broccoli during an interview for a new EW story.

The entertainment publication didn’t provide additional details. It merely says the production continued after the producers met Cary Fukunaga, who got hired as the new director.

Eon Productions makes the Bond films and controls the franchise along with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. No Time to Die is being released by United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures, in the U.S. with Universal internationally. Presumably those parties would have had to be consulted had a shutdown been ordered.

The movie originally had a fall 2019 release date. With Boyle’s departure because of “creative differences,” it was pushed back, first to February 2020 and finally to its current April 2020 release.

Some other details in the EW story:

–David Dencik plays a kidnapped scientist referenced in previously released plot summaries.

–Broccoli appears to deny that Lashana Lynch’s Nomi character received the 007 designation after Bond left MI6. “People write these theories without knowing,” Broccoli told EW. The Mail on Sunday reported in July 2019 that Nomi had been assigned the 007 code number in the film

UPDATE (4:55 p.m. New York time): Reader Jeffrey Westhoff notes that Brie Larson, star of Captain Marvel (where Lashana Lynch was a co-star) wrote a tweet in December where she believed Lynch’s character had the 007 code number.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

One NTTD question we have no answer for

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Occasionally, the blog has “question edition” posts about Bond 25/No Time to Die. Usually, the blog provides some evidence of the answers. For this post, we can only guess.

Why is there an Eon Productions logo in the trailer for The Rhythm Section but not for No Time to Die?

Probably language in contracts. But your guess is as good as mine.

The Rhythm Section trailer has logos for Paramount (studio that’s releasing the movie), Global Road (major co-financing entity) and Eon (company that made the movie).

No Time to Die’s trailer has logos for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Bond’s home studio) and Universal (handling international distribution). Not mentioned is United Artists Releasing, the joint venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures.

United Artists Releasing is performing distribution duties for No Time to Die in the United States.  It is referenced in the first poster for the movie, down toward the bottom.

MGM and Annpurna formed the joint venture to perform U.S. distribution of each other’s movies. MGM movies would have the MGM logo, Annapurna films would have the Annapurna logo. The joint venture was announced in the fall of 2017. The United Artists Releasing name was announced on the 100th anniversary of the formation of United Artists in early 2019.

No Time to Die poster competition announced

No Time to Die teaser poster. Apparently, the powers that be want something better.

No Time to Die is seeking “the brightest and the best artists, illustrators to come up with a poster design for 007,” star Daniel Craig says in a video that’s embedded in a post from the official James Bond account on Twitter.

“We are looking for bold, brave options that capture the essence of James Bond,” he added. “We cannot wait to see what you come up with.”

Well, that’s a twist.

In the “old days” (1960s and ’70s), Bond film posters were known for colorful illustrations, especially for the likes of Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

More recently, Bond posters tended to be photo-based, in particular, 2012’s Skyfall, which had a figure of Craig on his back shooting with a 007 logo in the background.

THIS WEBSITE has additional information about the competition.

“As James Bond returns for his 25th adventure, EON Productions, MGM, Universal Pictures International and United Artists Releasing want young creators to make their own mark on the iconic visual history of the James Bond franchise,” according to that website. “Be inspired by all the content on this hub, and submit your artwork to the brief below!”

Good luck to all those who wish to enter the competition. Here’s the tweet from the official 007 Twitter feed.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

UPDATE (3:15 p.m. New York time): By the way, if you submit something, those companies own it and you can’t get it back. That’s how things work in the big city.

UPDATE II (4:30 p.m., New York time): To view the submission guidelines, CLICK HERE.

UPDATE III: Here’s the video that is also embedded in that tweet:

No Time to Die Trailer due out next week, MI6 says

No Time to Die teaser poster

The first trailer for No Time to Die may be released online as early as Dec. 4, the MI6 James Bond website said, without disclosing how it obtained the information.

The teaser trailer “has been scheduled for release online on December 4th or 5th (depending on your time zone),” the website said.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer said Nov. 21 on an investor call the bulk of the movie’s marketing effort would ramp up after Jan. 1. However, MGM didn’t specify dates for marketing elements such as trailers or advertising by companies with No Time to Die deals. For example, Advertising Age reported in 2018 that star Daniel Craig filmed a Bond-themed Heineken commercial related to the movie.

MI6’s James Bond & Friends podcast said in August that a preliminary version of the trailer, also known as a rough cut, had been prepared. However, that trailer has yet to be shown officially.

The teaser trailer “was very briefly leaked on Instagram a couple of months ago but was swiftly removed,” MI6 said.

“The studio and distributors are meeting this week to finalize the ‘No Time To Die’ marketing strategy,” MI6 said.

MGM is the home studio of the Bond series, which is produced by Eon Productions. No Time to Die is being released in the U.S. by United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between MGM and Annpurna Pictures. Universal is handling international distribution.

TCM to show 19 James Bond films in September

Turner Classic Movies, the U.S. movie channel, is showing 19 James Bond movies on Thursdays this month.

With TCM, the “broadcasting day” starts at 6 a.m. New York time and runs until 6 a.m. the following day. With that in mind, here’s the schedule.

Sept. 5: Dr. No, 8 p.m.; From Russia With Love, 10 p.m.; Goldfinger, 12:15 a.m.; Thunderball, 2:15 a.m.; You Only Live Twice, 4:45 a.m.

Sept. 12: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 8 p.m., Diamonds Are Forever, 10:30 p.m.; Live And Let Die, 12: 45 a.m.; The Man With the Golden Gun, 3 a.m.

Sept. 19: The Spy Who Loved Me, 8 p.m.; Moonraker, 10:15 p.m.; For Your Eyes Only, 12: 30 a.m.; Octopussy, 3 a.m.; A View to a Kill, 5:15 a.m.

Sept. 26: The Living Daylights, 8 p.m.; Licence to Kill, 10:30 p.m.; GoldenEye, 1 a.m.; Tomorrow Never Dies, 3:30 a.m.; The World Is Not Enough, 5:30 a.m.

On TCM, movies are shown uncut, although in 2009 some Bond films had minor changes.

The Bond films are part of a broader TCM program schedule celebrating the 100th anniversary of United Artists.

UA was the studio that originated the Bond film series produced by Eon Productions. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought UA in 1981. Bond films have been released under the MGM brand since The World Is Not Enough.

On Wednesdays, TCM will show additional UA movies, including A Hard Day’s Night, West Side Story, The Pink Panther and Midnight Cowboy.

MGM and Annapurna Pictures this year revived the UA name (as United Artists Releasing) for the joint venture that releases movies from both company in the U.S.

Annapurna settles debt, Variety says

Annapurna logo

Annapurna Pictures has settled $200 million in debt, Variety reported.

Lenders who participated in a credit line will receive 82 cents for every dollar owed, the entertainment news outlet said, citing sources it didn’t identify.

The deal was reached “in the past few days” and an announcement may be made soon, Variety said. The $200 million credit line won’t be replaced, according to Variety.

Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer co-own United Artists Releasing. That entity releases Annapurna and MGM films in the U.S., including next year’s No Time to Die James Bond film. Universal will handle international distribution of the 25th Bond movie made by Eon Productions.

The founder of Annapurna is Megan Ellison. Her father, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, conducted the negotiations with lenders.

Eon’s Rhythm Section gets delayed again

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions’ The Rhythm Section, the company’s non-Bond spy film, has been pushed back a second time to early 2020, Variety reported.

The movie, starring Blake Lively, is now scheduled for Jan. 31, 2020, the entertainment news outlet said.

The Rhythm Section was originally scheduled by Paramount for Feb. 22 of this year. Lively suffered an injury during filming in 2017. The movie’s release was pushed back to Nov. 22.

Lively “underwent two hand surgeries before shooting resumed,” according to Variety.

.The new release date means that Eon will have two movies coming out a little more than two months apart. No Time to Die, Eon’s 25th James Bond film, will be released on April 3, 2020, in the U.K. and April 8 in the U.S.

The Bond film will be will be released by United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna Pictures, in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

Annapurna may be near deal with banks, Deadline says

Annapurna logo

Annapurna Pictures, which is involved with the distribution of Bond 25, may be near a deal with banks and avoid bankruptcy, Deadline: Hollywood reported.

Tech mogul Larry Ellison, father of Annapurna founder Megan Ellison, has offered banks between 80 and 85 cents on the dollar on what the company owes the banks, the entertainment website said, citing sources it didn’t identify.

“This for a debt sources place at north of $200 million that the company defaulted on, through its $350 million credit facility secured in fall 2017,” Deadline reported. “The credit facility was to be replenished by receivables, which weren’t nearly enough to service the debt.”

Why Bond fans should care: Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Bond’s home studios) are partners in United Artists Releasing. UA Releasing will distribute Bond 25 in the U.S. while Universal handles distribution internationally.

The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline and other entertainment sites previously reported Annapurna was considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy. With Chapter 11, a company reorganizes under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.

The only reason this figures into Bond 25 is because MGM’s own financial weakness. MGM had its own Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, which left it without its own distribution operation. It joined forces with Annapurna to at least get back into the distribution business in the U.S. Annapurna started a distribution operation in 2017.

Bond 25 questions: The Annapurna edition

Eon’s Bond 25 logo

Annapurna, one of the studios involved with Bond 25, has been having a financial crunch after a series of movies that underperformed at the box office. The Hollywood Reporter has said, quoting “multiple sources” that Annapurna has hired a law firm to explore “bankruptcy protection.”

Since Annapurna is a Bond 25 player, naturally the blog has a few questions.

What does Annapurna have to say?

Megan Ellison, Annapurna’s founder, wrote a note to employees.

“I got word this morning that there are some rumblings around town about our current status with the banks and that a story is likely to hit the press at some point today,” Ellison wrote, according to THR.

“Restructuring deals with financial institutions is not uncommon, yet the process is usually handled without a spotlight on it….Regardless of whatever comes out in the press, the truth is that we are well on our continued path towards success. There will always be speculation, misinformation and personal jabs in the press – that’s part of the business.

Sounds like a denial. Is it? 

Remember, THR reported that Annapurna had retained a law firm to evaluate a bankruptcy filing. It didn’t say the decision had actually been made to file. That’s not the firmest denial. Way back in the Watergate days, that sort of thing was dubbed a “non-denial denial.”

Moreover, when a CEO says they have no plans to do something, that applies to this moment, right now. Things change tomorrow, next week, next month, etc. Such statements have a very short life span. Things can change — and sometimes in a hurry.

Why should a Bond fan care?

Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are partners in a joint venture called United Artists Releasing. The joint venture will release Annapurna and MGM films in the U.S. UAR is slated to release Bond 25 in North America.

Bond 25, of course, is well underway in its filming schedule. The question is whether an Annapurna bankruptcy filing, should it happen  cause some kind of hiccup with U.S. distribution. Universal is handling Bond 25 distribution internationally. Meanwhile, THR updated its original story to quote an MGM “source” (not identified) as saying there won’t be an effect.

But we should be OK for Bond 25, right?

Probably, at least for now. But a week ago nobody was talking about the possibility of an Annapurna bankruptcy. It’s something to keep an eye on.

UPDATE (Aug. 8) –– Things might be dicier regarding that last question.

Deadline Hollywood has more details. The entertainment website says Annapurna “has burned through much of the $350 million credit facility the company secured in fall 2017. Those sources said Annapurna has either defaulted or is about to default on that debt. A deadline has been set by lenders for this week to come to a solution.”

Credit facility is a fancy way of saying borrowed money.

Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle and Megan Ellison’s father, may bail out Annapurna, according to Deadline. But the tech mogul is being a tough negotiator and preparations are being made to file for Chapter 11 in either California or Delaware if no deal is struck, Deadline reported.