Bond fans around the world who were counting the days until the release of the 25th installment in the spy thriller franchise now find themselves counting the months.
The global release of the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, was postponed on Wednesday until November amid the coronavirus disruption that has closed movie theatres in China and caused widespread headaches for other Hollywood productions.
Actor Daniel Craig’s last outing as agent 007, being distributed internationally by Universal Pictures, was supposed to be released at the start of April, but has been pushed back by seven months, 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,” read a posting on the official James Bond Twitter account.
The posting made no specific reference to the 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 since January in China while other places – 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 $880m at the box office worldwide, while Skyfall in 2012 grossed more than $1bn globally.
No Time to Die cost an estimated $200m to produce, and was due to open in movie theatres April 2 after a world premiere in London on March 31.
The James Bond postponement followed coronavirus disruptions to filming new movies and television shows and delays in releasing United States 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 a delay.
“With the Coronavirus reaching pandemic status, it is time to put public health above marketing release schedules and the cost of canceling publicity events,” stated an open letter on the fan website MI6-HQ.com.
“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 November 12 and in the US on November 25.