MGM and United Artists’ installment of the franchise has been among the most notable victims of the pandemic’s tentpole-calendar shuffle. It was originally slated to open worldwide in April 2020, then pushed to two different November 2020 dates, and most recently was set to hit theaters on April 2, 2021.
Though there’s still less than three months to go before that previously scheduled Easter Weekend release, it remains uncertain when theatrical exhibition will return in full force, though industry sources hope normal stateside releases might return by May. Some 59 percent of US theaters remain closed, including all exhibition locations in the U.S.’s two largest markets of New York City and Los Angeles. Most theaters in Canada and Europe are also shuttered, IndieWire’s Tom Brueggemann reports.
While much of the “No Time to Die” gross is expected to be brought in abroad, stateside the title is a crown jewel of MGM’s slate and a lynchpin to its financial stability. Deadline reported that the studio screened the movie for streamers with an asking price of $600 million; none were willing to pay even half that.
Waiting to release the film theatrically — once audiences are ready to return — could prove to be a smart move for the studio, which is reportedly exploring selling itself and its enormous library, which includes everything from Bond to “The Handmaid’s Tale.” All of Craig’s Bond installments have grossed in excess of $500 million. “Skyfall,” released in 2012, brought in $1.11 billion worldwide on a $200 million budget.
Deadline reported on Tuesday that the change in release date was in the works, which came after a Dutch website, citing an exhibitor, said that the move was forthcoming.
“No Time to Die,” directed by “Beasts of No Nation” and “True Detective” helmer Cary Fukunaga, finds Bond having left active service and enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Franchise actors Lea Seydoux, Jeffrey Wright, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, and Naomie Harris join Craig in his final go as 007. Newcomers include “Captain Marvel” breakout Lashana Lynch and “Bohemian Rhapsody” Oscar winner Rami Malek as the villain.