James Bond movie release pushed back seven months amid coronavirus

Actors Daniel Craig and Rami Malek react during a promotional appearance on TV in Times Square for the new James Bond movie "No Time to Die" in the Manhattan borough of New York City

LONDON (Reuters) - The global release of the new James Bond film "No Time to Die" was postponed on Wednesday by seven months amid the coronavirus disruption that has closed movie theatres in China and caused widespread headaches for other Hollywood productions.

The release of Daniel Craig’s last outing as agent 007, being distributed internationally by Universal Pictures <CMSCA.O>, will be postponed from the start of April until November, producers said.

"After careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of NO TIME TO DIE will be postponed until November 2020," a posting on the official James Bond Twitter account said.

The posting made no specific reference to coronavirus but follows reports in entertainment trade media last week of the cancellation of plans for the film's red carpet premiere in China, Hollywood's biggest overseas market.

Movie theatres have been closed in China since January and other nations, including Japan, South Korea and parts of Italy, are also closing theatres in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

The Bond franchise is one of the movie world’s most lucrative, with 2015’s “Spectre” raking in $880 million at the box office worldwide, while “Skyfall” in 2012 grossed more than $1 billion (£777.5 million) globally.

"No Time to Die" cost an estimated $200 million to produce and was due to open in movie theatres from April 2 after a world premiere in London on March 31.

The James Bond postponement followed coronavirus disruptions to filming new movies and TV shows and delays in releasing U.S. movies in China.

A planned three-week shoot in Venice, Italy, for Tom Cruise's new "Mission: Impossible" film was postponed last week due to the outbreak, and producers of the CBS television global competition show "The Amazing Race" said last week they had temporarily suspended filming of a new season.

James Bond fan sites had also written to the studios behind the film this week, urging for a delay.

"With the Coronavirus reaching pandemic status, it is time to put public health above marketing release schedules and the cost of cancelling publicity events," fan website MI6-HQ.com wrote in an open letter.

"We have all waited over 4 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 letter added.

Wednesday's post said the film will now be released in the United Kingdom on Nov. 12 and in the United States on Nov. 25.



(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Jill Serjeant; editing by Stephen Addison and Nick Zieminski)