James Bond will have a little more time to do whatever he likes. MGM, Universal, and producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced on Wednesday that the release date of the fifth and final installment of the Daniel Craig–led Bond films, No Time to Die, will be moved from April to November over concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. Eon Productions’ statement says the release is being moved because of an “evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace,” which is corporate-speak for “Because mankind is on the brink of a global pandemic, we’re concerned that we could lose a lot of money in overseas markets where James Bond films usually make bank.”
MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, announced today that after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of NO TIME TO DIE will be postponed until November 2020. pic.twitter.com/a9h1RP5OKd— James Bond (@007) March 4, 2020
Such considerations have already spelled some concern for Disney over the impending release of Mulan, which was expected to become a huge hit in China before the country basically went into lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has since made its way to every continent except for Antarctica. For No Time to Die, the prospect of losing the Chinese marketplace—which has been a real boon for Hollywood—as well as that of South Korea, apparently proved too risky. The hope is that by November the outbreak will be contained and many more people will see this film than if it were to premiere in a few weeks.
So yeah, we’re going to have to wait a little longer for another James Bond movie, and the plans of major Hollywood studios could, in the short term, be affected by coronavirus. (I would be surprised if No Time to Die were the only blockbuster whose release was pushed back to later in the year.) The release date change was preceded by an open letter to MGM, Universal, and Eon Productions from the biggest Bond fan site calling for the movie to delay the launch and put “public health above marketing release schedules.” In that respect, the companies made the right call.
But let’s not be too concerned about the profit margins of major Hollywood studios—instead we should worry about the people who’ll be exposed to the virus and have abhorrently expensive health care coverage, if they have coverage at all.
Yes, I’m excited about watching a James Bond movie featuring MAH WIFE Ana de Armas as much as the next guy, but it’s still going to come out, and it will probably still make bank. Really, fans should be more worried that the new film could be … quite bad. No Time to Die has gone through multiple rewrites and multiple directors, and is being led by a star who said he’d rather slash his wrists than work on another Bond project before he signed on to this movie. (The paycheck probably helped.) There were bizarre rumors about the production process, like Cary Fukunaga playing so many video games that it was affecting the production(?!?!), along with reports of Daniel Craig needing ankle surgery, an on-set explosion injuring a crew member, and most disturbing of all, a maintenance worker being arrested for placing cameras in the women’s toilets at Pinewood Studios while the film was shooting there.
No Time to Die has honestly felt like a cursed production, but by the time No Time to Die finally hits theaters, hopefully, for the sake of actual humanity, the coronavirus outbreak will be contained—and who knows, maybe the film is better than all the chaos that’s surrounded it from the very beginning. One thing’s for sure: After all these delays, this 007 will officially be too old to die young.