Coronavirus concerns delay release of James Bond film No Time to Die

Nick Perry

The 25th film in the James Bond franchise, No Time to Die, has long been scheduled for an April 10 release. Now, due to concerns about coronavirus, it has been postponed until November.

While the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has made an impact on technology shows and threatens to disrupt the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the No Time to Die change marks the first instance of a Hollywood tentpole shifting its strategy due to the pandemic. The Hollywood Reporter says the spy franchise now will commence its run seven months later, on November 12 in the U.K. and November 25 in the U.S.

The studios in charge of distributing the film issued a statement on Wednesday: “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.”

This news comes after an extensive run of promotion surrounding the film in anticipation of its intended April release date, including new footage released just two days ago. Given the amount of resources already dedicated to the release, the decision obviously was not an easy one. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, insiders feared the ongoing cinema blackout in China and a sluggish moviegoing market worldwide due to coronavirus fears would be more detrimental to the film’s bottom line than moving the date. There is concern that the market will continue to dip through April.

In the weeks leading up to the decision, publicity tours for the movie in China, South Korea, and Japan were canceled, and the release date in Hong Kong was previously pushed back to April 30. MGM, Universal, and Eon Productions also received an open letter from Bond fan blog M16-HQ asking the companies to “put public health above marketing release schedules.”

With the new date, No Time to Die will benefit from the popular moviegoing Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. and premiere in what most critics consider the start of Hollywood awards season. Many previous Bond films have also opened in November.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, No Time to Die is Daniel Craig’s final film as 007. Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes, and Christoph Waltz all reprise previous roles in the film, while Rami Malek, Ana de Armas, and Lashana Lynch are all new to the series.