Open Letter Calls for 'No Time to Die' Release to Be Pushed Back Over Coronavirus: "It's Just a Movie"

Writers for the biggest 007 blog have urged Eon, MGM and Universal to postpone the release until summer.

On the same day that tickets went on sale for No Time to Die, the 25th Bond movie and the final outing of Daniel Craig as 007, there have been calls for the film's release date to be postponed.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, No Time to Die is due for an international rollout in early April following its world premiere in London on March 31. But with the impact of the coronavirus continuing to spread internationally, a group of fans — who have already endured three sets of delays — have now urged producer Eon and distributors MGM and Universal to push the release until the summer.

In an open letter, writers for the MI6-HQ website — the biggest Bond fan blog and behind several books on the film, including the official MI6 Confidential magazine — said that the companies should "put public health above marketing release schedules."

Co-written by James Page, co-founder of the MI6 website, and David Leigh, founder of the James Bond Dossier, the letter applauded the decision to cancel the film's publicity tours in China, South Korea and Japan, and postpone its release in Hong Kong until April 30.

"These are sensible actions that should be applauded," they said.

Looking at a potential hit on the film's box office, the letter stated that the developed nations that have banned or restricted large public gatherings to contain the community spread of coronavirus — including Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea — amounted to 38 percent of the total global earnings for the last Bond outing, Spectre.

"With a month to go before No Time to Die opens worldwide, community spread of the virus is likely to be peaking in the United States," it added. "Today, Washington declared a state of emergency. There is a significant chance that cinemas will be closed, or their attendance severely reduced, by early April. Even if there are no legal restrictions on cinemas being open, to quote M in Skyfall, 'How safe do you feel?'"

Regarding the world premiere, the writers noted that the capacity of London's Royal Albert Hall, where the event is due to take place, is above the 5,000 limit that affected countries are now banning for public gatherings.

"Just one person, who may not even show symptoms, could infect the rest of the audience. This is not the type of publicity anyone wants," the letter added.

In conclusion, it said that summer — when some experts have predicted the epidemics will have peaked and be under control — would be a better time.

"It's just a movie. The health and well-being of fans around the world, and their families, is more important," it said. "We have all waited over four years for this film. Another few months will not damage the quality of the film and only help the box office for Daniel Craig's final hurrah."

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Universal, MGM and Eon for comment.