No Time To Die has been talked of as being cursed / unlucky for a while now. That’s not overly surprising given that it has had: a) a change in director seemingly over script disputes; b) a possibly less than super-controlled explosion at Pinewood Studios which resulted in an injured crew member and a damaged exterior to the 007 stage; and c) a fortnight setback due to Daniel Craig needing ankle surgery having been injured filming.
So it’s almost inevitable that, with just over a month before its April release date, the 25th Bond film had to be postponed for very external factors. At time of writing, the Coronavirus outbreak has led to region-wide quarantines in several countries and so, fresh off the unveiling of its rather good theme song by Billie Eilish, No Time To Die has been shunted to November, a year later than its original release date from back when Danny Boyle was on board to direct.
I’ll be honest: I’m not super excited about the idea of sitting for three hours in darkness alongside strangers with uncertain hygiene practices, and that’s despite the fact that I don’t have any underlying health issues. That said, barring a known virus outbreak in my area, I’d have probably trotted along to see the new Bond – though maybe in one of the smaller screening rooms that my local cinema offers.
I also know that the Chinese and east Asian markets in general are very lucrative for films, and releasing the movie now would mean Universal wouldn’t access all that revenue. Or at least that’s how the argument goes.
I have a solution to offer Universal: What about releasing the film as a premium-priced offering on streaming services in affected territories, maybe a month after release elsewhere? That way, people that wish to (and are able to) go to the cinema can see it on the big screen, and those unlucky to be in a quarantine area – like, say, the entire country of Italy – can see it from the privacy and safety of their own homes. It might even give people a bit of cheer-up.
In the coming months, we’ve got the likes of Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984 amongst others due to hit cinemas. Unfortunately, at time of writing, this virus doesn’t feel like it’s going away (even though cases seem to be dropping in China) and so it seems that we are going to have to adapt our lives to help contain the spread of the virus.
With Serie A football in Italy being played behind closed doors for at least the remainder of March and talk of cancellation of the Olympics and the Euros, why not start releasing major films on streaming? It might help people from going stir-crazy and, maybe just maybe, Universal and the like won’t experience the financial loss they might otherwise expect.