Actor Daniel Craig may not have the most number of films from EON Productions where he stars as British super-secret agent James Bond, but the period of time in which the role belonged to him was pretty long. His first appearance has been in 2006’s “Casino Royale,” technically based on the first Bond book by Ian Fleming, with the film serving as reboot to character and franchise. In the following films Craig evolved his Bond’s characterization from brutal yet emotional rookie 00 Agent to professional and composed covert antihero. “No Time to Die” is supposed to be his final movie as the character. Now if only its premiere does not keep getting repeatedly pushed back.
It is beginning to feel like “No Time to Die,” the 25th EON Productions “James Bond” film and the fifth starring Daniel Craig should be titled “No Time to Premiere” instead. Variety would have it that MGM has been forced to postpone its cinematic release for the sixth time. Instead of this coming April it will now be later this year, in October 8. Of the six reschedules the Bond film has had already, this is the third time that the reason has been the still-ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19.
The pushback of the release date is notable because EON Productions has insisted that “No Time to Die” has to come out primarily in cinemas. Already the production company has nixed plans by its partner studio MGM to begin offering the movie to a digital streaming platform like Netflix or Apple TV+. The reasoning is understandable. At a $200 million budget, the best way to recoup and make a bank is with a box office premiere. But with theaters still either closed or offering limited seating, the prospects of the movie earning “traditionally’ are uncertain.
Originally slated for November 2019, “No Time to Die” had its first schedule slip after original director and co-writer Danny Boyle left with production team over creative differences. First moved to February 2020, it was pushed again to April last year as replacement director Cary Fukunaga worked to finish the film. Then came the first COVID-related delay as the premiere became November 2020. At first the April 2021 pushback felt like the last, only for the new October release date to frustrate viewers again. MGM is releasing “No Time to Die” in North America while Universal Pictures handles international distribution.Image courtesy of The Wrap