If you thought you were going to see the new James Bond movie in a few weeks, think again. And its delay is the harbinger of things to come.
It’s really starting to feel like a bad case of déjà vu.
The upcoming James Bond movie, No Time to Die, has been delayed again because of uncontrollable cases of the coronavirus in the US and UK.
The move marks the third time the tentpole action movie has been delayed because of the pandemic. The film will now be released in October.
No Time to Die, the final Bond movie to star Daniel Craig as the super spy, was originally scheduled for release in April 2020. It was the first blockbuster movie to be pushed by Hollywood studios as it looked increasingly likely lockdowns were about to happen.
The first reschedule was to November 2020 before it was moved again to April 2021, which it has now vacated.
No Time to Die is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga and also stars Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, Lea Seydoux, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes. It was filmed in 2019.
There’s a question over how much further movies can be pushed and whether the references and story points will still be relevant if released 18 months or two years after it was originally intended.
But more significantly, just as No Time To Die’s first delay set off a wave of movie releases being pushed to later in the calendar, today’s move is expected to have the same effect. No Time to Die has been the canary in the coalmine for the industry.
When No Time To Die was delayed late last year, some cinema chains in the US and UK opted to close their doors, arguing that without high-profile releases, their operations were unsustainable.
Many movies that were originally to be released in 2020 and were pushed to the first half of 2021 now look likely to move as well. These include Marvel movie Black Widow, A Quiet Place Part II, the ninth Fast and Furious movie and the Top Gun sequel.
The pandemic has wrought widespread disruption in the film industry with movie theatres closed across the world for various periods of times.
While many independent films – and certainly in Australia, local films – have continued to be released, the few big blockbusters that dared to open have underperformed, particular against what they would’ve expected to do in a normal market.
Many movies have also been sold off to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, including Greyhound and News of the World, while Disney had opted to release two of its films last year – Mulan and Soul – on its streaming platform, Disney+.
Warner Bros controversially announced that it would release its entire 2021 slate simultaneously in cinemas and on its streaming platform HBO Max (not available in Australia).
The decision drew the ire of filmmakers including Nolan and Denis Villeneuve as well as it cinema partners which rely on exclusive theatrical releases.