It’s possible No Time to Die could be delayed until 2021. The upcoming James Bond film was the first major blockbuster to shift release dates in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, moving back from April to November 2020. Since then, basically all of Hollywood has shut down and the movie calendar is clear through mid-July (when Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet is slated to open). That appears to be when the industry is banking on things being safe; Mulan and Wonder Woman 1984 are also scheduled to premiere in late summer.
As eager as moviegoers are to see a new film on the big screen, there unfortunately is no guarantee that will be able to happen in a few months. For instance, Connie Nielsen is unsure Wonder Woman 1984 will be able to meet its new release date. The ongoing health crisis remains a fluid situation that’s impossible to predict. Because of that, it isn’t out of the question movies that have already been delayed will get pushed back further.
Per the Daily Mail, the great debate for No Time to Die right now is to either stick to the November date or look to 2021 (where potential dates are increasingly becoming scarce). As is the case with franchise tentpoles like Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984, No Time to Die will not be going straight to streaming. As a source told the outlet:
“If it has to wait till next year then so be it. There are hundreds of millions of dollars involved here. Release it when audiences feel safe to return. But it’s a nerve-racking call.”
Delaying No Time to Die cost MGM between $30-50 million, and the film already boasted the most expensive production budget in Bond history. So, it goes without saying everyone involved needs No Time to Die to be a huge hit, which is something to keep in mind when discussing this dilemma. The Bond franchise has always been a huge draw overseas (Spectre grossed $880.6 million worldwide), meaning the status of the global theatrical marketplace will likely be a determining factor. If theaters around the world are open and bringing in solid business, then No Time to Die could move forward with its planned November premiere. However, should a majority of theaters remain closed (particularly ones in key markets), the Bond producers may be inclined to move the film again – but could have trouble finding another new date clear of competition.
There’s no denying this will be particularly tricky to figure out. Even if most theaters reopen later in the year, there will be restrictions in place to cap attendance (for social distancing reasons) as everyone eases back. That would obviously impact the amount of money films gross at the box office; Tenet and Mulan are predicted to have softer openings than normal if they come out in July. Again, No Time to Die has to earn a healthy amount in order to be profitable, and the movie’s producers may not feel comfortable releasing it until they’re confident it can post strong numbers similar to what it would have scored in normal circumstances. On the other hand, No Time to Die can’t sit on the shelf forever, so at some point the studio is going to have to roll the dice.