Cinema owners had hoped that things would pick up again with the new Bond film after the crisis. But the start of the film has been postponed yet again.
James Bond will not be back in cinemas until 2021 – despite the start of an advertising campaign Photo: Lisi Niesner
The new James Bond film "No Time to Die" has been postponed again six weeks before its scheduled release – now for the fourth time. The agent thriller with Daniel Craig is not scheduled to hit theaters until April 2, 2021. The announcement by the producers not only disappointed fans, it particularly angered cinema operators who fear for their existence. Many had associated the new blockbuster with the hope of a revival of the cinema business.
The announcement by the producers last Friday, October 2, came as a surprise to many. The PR campaign for "No Time to Die" was already in full swing. A new trailer, commercials, posters and a James Bond podcast series – everything was in place for the launch this November. The day before the news broke, pop star Billie Eilish had even released her music video for the title song "No Time To Die." The cancellation decision was obviously made at short notice.
The 007 producers did not explicitly mention a connection with the corona virus, but it is considered certain. The box office results of the Christopher Nolan film "Tenet", which was the only blockbuster to be released this summer, may also have played a role. According to the renowned industry website "Box Office Mojo," the $200 million production had grossed around $285 million by the end of September, including a good $40 million in the important U.S. market, where many cinemas are still closed due to the pandemic.
The new April 2021 start date for James Bond was chosen "so that a global cinema audience can see the film," said the terse statement from MGM, Universal and producers* Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. "We understand the delay is disappointing to fans, but now we look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year." Whether the Corona situation will have improved by then, however, is entirely up in the air.
Cinema industry suffers from the pandemic
And it’s possible that some cinemas won’t even see the launch. The industry is in dire economic straits. For months, movie theaters had to close. Even after they opened, visitor numbers are low. Many are still afraid to go to the cinema. On the other hand, the operators lack big crowd pullers.
The Hollywood blockbusters "Black Widow," "The King’s Man" and "Top Gun Maverick" will also not be released until next year. The comic adaptation "Wonder Woman 1984," which has been postponed several times, is scheduled to open shortly before Christmas, as are "Dune," "Death on the Nile" and the Pixar animated film "Soul. Insiders, however, expect more changes. The 25th James Bond film was seen by many as the last hope to lure viewers back into theaters this year.
The start had already been postponed three times. Originally, it was to premiere in October 2019. When British director Danny Boyle withdrew from the project in August 2018 due to "creative differences," the launch was moved to February 2020. Under Boyle’s successor, U.S.-based Cary Joji Fukunaga, the date was revised by another two months to April in order to tweak the script. But then the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
After being put off again, the international cinema chain Cineworld is now apparently drawing consequences. According to media reports, it intends to close all its movie theaters in the UK and Ireland, as well as over 500 cinemas in the USA, for the time being. Cineworld had recently reported half-year losses of almost 1.6 billion U.S. dollars (1.37 billion euros). However, even the British secret agent James Bond alone could not have compensated for these losses.