The movie industry has been unable to survive the Covid-19 pandemic unscathed. Given the circumstances, even the iconic James Bond franchise has come under pressure and it's unclear whether we'll ever see No Time to Die release.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio behind the Bond films, has pushed back the movie's release multiple times. Just this month, with circumstances of Covid-19 rising in Europe, MGM once again had to pull the plug on its plans to release No Time to Die at Thanksgiving.
The studio made a similar decision in March when the novel virus first gripped the world, pushing back the release by eight months. At the time, the move was financially painful as MGM had already spent approximately $66 million in marketing alone.
However, the studio failed to anticipate worsening public health catastrophe months down the line and, according to Variety, delays are costing the studio $1 million per month in interest charges alone. This is all on top of a steep $301 million budget.
Even so, the studio has had no choice but to reschedule the release again, this time pushing it back to April 2021. But given the franchise's older fanbase and with experts doubting a vaccine will be ready before next spring, even this date seems unrealistic.
Prior to moving No Time to Die, MGM Chairman Kevin Ulrich played with the idea of licensing the movie to a streaming platform or even selling it outright. Reportedly, Netflix and Apple showed interest, with offers for the film going up to $400 million. However, with MGM hoping for an offer of between $600 million to $850 million, any prospects of a deal fell through.
The failed deal for Bond comes at a time when streaming services have been aggressively snapping up major movies from traditional studios. For instance, this year alone Amazon purchased “Without Remorse” and “Coming 2 America” from Paramount, Apple got “Greyhound” from Sony, and Netflix snapped up “Trial of the Chicago 7” from Paramount.
For now, MGM is still persistent in its effort to preserve the theatrical experience, with the release date still tentatively slated for April 2021.