Washington: The much-anticipated 25th instalment to the James Bond series has been postponed until next year, the filmmakers announced Friday (local time).
According to Variety, the film, starring Daniel Craig in his final stint as the agent formerly known as 007, is expected to hit theatres on April 2, 2021, a year later than initially planned.
Back in March, ‘No Time to Die’ was the first major tentpole to shift its release date before the global health crisis caused by coronavirus could even be classified as a pandemic. After its first delay, the movie was set to premiere in the U.K. on November 12 and in North America on November 20.
The filmmakers said in a statement, “MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of ‘No Time To Die,’ the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.”
“We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing ‘No Time to Die’ next year.”
Variety reported that numerous movies were shuffled around in the wake of ‘Tenet’s’ lacklustre U.S. box office performance in September.
But industry experts suggested the release date for ‘No Time to Die’ might not waiver because the Bond franchise relies heavily on international ticket sales — and overseas cinemas have seen a stronger return to theatres compared to domestic venues.
Yet the decision to move the upcoming Bond entry into next year is not entirely surprising considering coronavirus cases in Europe have started to rise again and New York and Los Angeles, the two biggest U.S. markets, remain closed.
‘No Time to Die’ carries a production budget of over USD 200 million and cost millions more to promote. The studio reportedly lost millions when it shelved the movie earlier in 2020. Given Bond’s global appeal, the sequel’s backers wanted to wait until audiences across the world felt safe returning to theatres to have a chance at turning a profit.
Cary Joji Fukunaga directed ‘No Time to Die,’ with Rami Malek set as Bond’s adversary Safin, Lea Seydoux returning as Bond’s love interest, and Lashana Lynch playing a new ’00 agent. The cast also includes Ana de Armas, Ben Whishaw, and Christoph Waltz.