'No Time to Die' Release Delayed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak
The release of the upcoming James Bond film No Time to Die has been pushed back from April to November, becoming the first Hollywood tentpole to shift its global rollout because of the coronavirus outbreak. The 25th installment in the storied spy franchise will commence its run Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 25 in the U.S.
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and the final outing of Daniel Craig as 007, MGM and Eon's No Time to Die had been set to begin rolling out internationally in early April following a March 31 world premiere in London. It was scheduled to open in North America on April 10.
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MGM is releasing the title in North America via United Artists Releasing, while Universal has international duties.
Relocating a tentpole and restarting a marketing campaign that was in full swing is a Herculean task, but insiders say hundreds of millions of dollars hung in the balance because of the ongoing cinema blackout in China and a downturn in moviegoing in markets where COVID-19 is a major issue, including South Korea, Italy and Japan. There's also concern that by early April, other markets could be impacted.
“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," read a statement issued by the three parties Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, Universal moved its Trolls World Tour release up one week to the vacated U.S. date for No Time to Die. The Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake sequel to 2016's Trolls is now set to bow April 10.
In its new date, No Time to Die has the advantage of going out over the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday in North America (many previous Bond movies also opened in November). The other major Thanksgiving 2020 tentpole is Godzilla vs. Kong, which is set to debut domestically on Nov. 20.
Alongside Craig, No Time to Die will also star Bond returnees Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, along with franchise newcomers Rami Malek, Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch.
As the coronavirus first began to spread, publicity tours for the movie in China, South Korea and Japan were canceled, and No Time To Die's release in Hong Kong was pushed back to April 30.
Earlier this week, MGM, Universal and Eon received an open letter from the biggest Bond fan blog, MI6-HQ, calling on the companies to delay the film's launch and “put public health above marketing release schedules.”
Aside for the concerns over audience members, the letter said the ongoing coronavirus outbreak could seriously impact No Time To Die's box office, noting that the countries that have banned or restricted large public gatherings — including China, Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea — contributed some 38 percent of the total global earnings for the last Bond movie, 2015's Spectre.
March 4, 11:51 a.m. Updated with Trolls World Tour release date shift.
by Graeme McMillan
by Graeme McMillan
by Aaron Couch, Borys Kit