Bond’s latest initiative has triggered a wave of other delays for major publications. Sony has postponed Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Peter Rabbit 2, Jared Leto’s Morbius, Tom Holland’s Uncharted and Cinderella, which will star singer Camila Cabello, while Universal has pushed Tom Hanks’ biopic from April to November.
The UK Cinema Association said the decision to postpone No Time To Die again, “while clearly disappointing, is not surprising given the current situation around Covid-19 in the UK as well as in the U.S. and other major film territories.”
The postponement of Daniel Craig’s Swan Song and other films “underlines the need to continue to support the UK film industry,” said the association’s chief executive, Phil Clapp.
The association is calling on the government to provide “direct funding” to broadcasters, which account for 80% of ticket sales.
One of the major broadcasters, Vue, said the delay was “understandable” and that continued attempts to get the film into theaters were “further evidence of our shared belief in a bright future for the big screen.”
Switching to streaming?
The latest report, however, could fuel speculation that the film could eventually skip theaters and be released on a streaming platform.
Disney’s headliners like Pixar’s Soul and the live-action remake of Mulan have avoided theaters and instead debuted on the Disney+ streaming service.
Wonder Woman 1984 aired in the U.S. on the same day as its limited theatrical release on streaming service HBO Max.
Last year, Warner Bros. announced that all of its 2021 titles – including sci-fi epics Dune and The Matrix 4 – would use a similar two-issue model, causing tension between Hollywood and U.S. theaters.
The Dig, a new historical drama starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, was set to open in select UK theaters this month. As of now, the film can only be seen on Netflix starting January 29.
Asked if No Time To Die could follow suit, Fiennes – who will reprise his role as M in the film – recently told BBC News, “That’s a good question and I’m not really in a position to answer it.
“I would love for people to be able to go to the movies and enjoy the energy of the big screen behind Bond, but I’m sure it’s something that the people who are making these executive decisions are probably considering.
“I really hope we can get out of this so people can go to the movies. Maybe they just need to keep their nerves under control. But we don’t know that, of course, and there could be financial reasons or constraints that force them to put it on a streaming system.”
When No Time To Die hits theaters in October, it will be six years after the release of its 2015 predecessor Spectrum.
It won’t be far from the six years and four months that separated the release of Licence to Kill in the summer of 1989 and GoldenEye in late 1995 – the biggest gap between two Bond films.
The last Bond film, 2015’s Spectre, grossed nearly $900 million (£690 million) at the worldwide box office.