No Time to Die could be delayed again, says one James Bond expert who predicts the film could be moved to 2022 because of the pandemic.
A James Bond expert thinks No Time to Die could be delayed to 2022. No Time to Die has been pushed around the release calendar several times, costing MGM nearly $1 million a month. The film was originally scheduled for a November 2019 release but the departure of original director Danny Boyle forced the film into early 2020. No Time to Die then became one of the earliest films delayed because of the pandemic, with the film pushed back to November 2020.
Worried by Tenet's box office performance and the continued spike in coronavirus cases, the studio decided to delay the film again, this time to April 2021. It then became one of the first films of 2021 to be delayed and it now has a release date set for October 2021. The studio is likely hoping that, with the vaccine being distributed, theaters will be able to operate fully by the fall, but that's looking less and less likely as the messy vaccine rollout continues to be a global problem.
According to David Leigh, a James Bond expert and host of a James Bond podcast, he expects the film to delayed again for a number of reasons. Leigh cites the mutation of the virus as one of those reasons, as doctors around the world scramble to ensure their vaccines protect against these new virus variants. Leigh also says that, for many, it may be a long time before they feel comfortable enough to return to cinemas, a concern for many studios as they mull release dates in 2021 and beyond.
My thinking of this is really that, although we’ve got vaccines, they’re not a hundred per cent effective, there are new variants of the virus and they’ll have to adapt the vaccine to deal with those. People will almost certainly have to have booster shots every six months, nine months, once a year. They don’t know yet because it’s all too new. October for me feels too soon, even if things go to plan right now. I think it’s going to be 2022 until we are back in place where people can go out to the cinema. And people need to feel confident that they’re not going to get the virus when they go out. So, 2022 I think it’s going to be.
As much as no one wants to admit it, Leigh could still be on to something. The unpredictable nature of the pandemic largely throws proper planning out the window. It's clear that No Time to Die needs to be released, lest it become stale and moviegoers become disinterested, but MGM is quickly running out of options. They previously explored a sale to streaming platforms, but no one was willing to fork up what was said to be a $6oo million asking price.
With no streaming service of their own to dump it on, MGM finds themselves in a complicated situation, one that few other studios are dealing with. No Time to Die will be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year upon its inevitable release, but as time goes on interest may wane. The costly delays also prevent the studio from moving forward with the franchise. Many have wondered who will be taking over the role of Bond after Craig, but making an announcement like that ahead of the release of No Time to Die further risks making the film seem stale. It's a curious balancing act, one that no one can really plan for accurately and it's like that, as hard as studios try, we haven't seen the last wave of delays yet.