James Bond pic No Time To Die is delaying its November 2020 release to spring 2021 amid the challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the filmmakers announced Friday.
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the 25th installment in the iconic spy franchise had been set to open Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 20 in the U.S. It will now open on April 2, 2021 in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.
MGM, Eon Productions and Universal had been intent on sticking to the November rollout but were finally forced to shift course because of continued challenges facing the box office, including cinema closures in certain top markets and re-closures in others.
Friday’s announcement is another blow for cinema owners, who say they need new Hollywood tentpoles to ignite a recovery. However, as it stands now, the marquee will be noticeably lean in terms of all-audience event pics until Christmas when Wonder Woman 1984 opens.
Bond’s move comes after fellow 2020 fall event pics Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow delayed their early October and early November releases, respectively. Black Widow was among a number of pics that Disney moved, although Pixar’s Soul is still slotted for Nov. 20.
Earlier this year, No Time to Die became the first Hollywood tentpole to become a casualty of the COVID-19 crisis when its original April 2020 release date was pushed back to November.
The film — marking Daniel Craig’s final turn as 007 — also stars 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. Billie Eilish has recorded the title track.
MGM is handling No Time to Die domestically via United Artists Releasing, while Universal has international distribution duties.
“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience. We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year,” a statement read.