No Time To Die is delaying its November 2020 release to spring 2021 amid the challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the filmmakers announced on Friday. This is at least the 3rd time the film has been delayed. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the 25th installment in the iconic spy franchise had been set to open Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 20 in the U.S. It will now open on April 2, 2021 in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.
Numerous movies were shuffled around in the wake of “Tenet’s” lackluster U.S. box office performance in September. Because the Bond franchise relies heavily on international ticket sales, the decision to move “No Time to Die” into next year is not entirely surprising: Coronavirus cases in Europe have started to rise again and New York and Los Angeles, the two biggest U.S. markets, remain closed.
In an interview with Variety, John Fithian, head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, says he believes that the main stumbling block preventing movie theaters from rebounding is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to keep cinemas closed indefinitely. That’s robbing studios of a major market to show their films, Fithian argues, which may jeopardize the release of upcoming blockbusters such as Wonder Woman 1984 and Pixar’s Soul.
The delays have been major blow to theaters, and there’s a chance more could be forced to close given the lack of new content on the horizon. In less than a day after the No Time to Die delay announcement, Variety learned that Cineworld would be closing 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the U.S. and all cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland this coming week. On Sunday afternoon, Cineworld confirmed that it was “considering the temporary closure” of its U.K. and U.S. cinemas.
We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached. Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.
— Cineworld Cinemas (@cineworld) October 4, 2020
The front page of tomorrow’s Times is announcing that Cineworld is planning to close all of its cinemas across the country as soon as this week putting all of our jobs at immediate risk. There has been no consultation with staff whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/16fKxGcNnG
— Cineworld Action Group (@cineactiongroup) October 3, 2020
This morning, the decision was confirmed. The move will impact around 45,000 employees, and the company’s stock dropped more than 40 percent. This will impact 536 Regal cinemas in the U.S. and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse in the U.K., and comes into force beginning this Thursday, October 8. Bond’s move comes after fellow 2020 fall event pics Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow delayed their early October and early November releases, respectively. Black Widow was among a number of pics that Disney moved, although Pixar’s Soul is still slotted for Nov. 20.
MGM, Eon Productions and Universal had been intent on sticking to the November rollout but because of continued challenges facing the box office, including cinema closures in certain top markets and re-closures in others, they felt they had no choice but to move the film, which will be Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007. Friday’s announcement is another blow for cinema owners, who say they need new Hollywood tentpoles to ignite a recovery. However, as it stands now, the marquee will be noticeably lean in terms of all-audience event pics until Christmas when Wonder Woman 1984 opens.
These latest delays of movies amid the coronavirus pandemic will certainly have major consequences for the industry, but the exhibition industry restart is now out of the hands of the exhibitors. If the studios continue to push out their release dates, there may not be any cineplexes around when they finally decide they are ready.