MGM has delayed the premiere of the new James Bond flick “No Time to Die,” for the third time, as COVID-19 cases and deaths reach new levels in the United States and about two-thirds of North American theaters remain closed.
The movie, most recently scheduled to debut on April 2, is now scheduled to open on Oct. 8.
While entertainment conglomerates including Disney and WarnerMedia are using hybrid cinema/streaming service releases to build their nascent streaming platforms in the face of widespread North American theater closures, some films stand to lose large potential profits without a full-on theater release, industry observers note.
With a $250-million production budget and marketing costs that would likely bring the total to at least $400 million, “No Time to Die,” the latest installment in one of filmdom’s most valuable franchises, is one such film.
“Those who have their eye on the long game understand that for a film like Bond, and many others, the prestige, exclusivity, and revenue generating potential of the movie theater is still undeniable and indeed still worth waiting for,” Comscore Senior Media Analyst Paul Dergarabedian told CNBC.
The last two installments, 2015’s “Spectre” and 2012’s “Skyfall,” topped $879 million and $1.1 billion at the box office, respectively.
MGM’s move immediately set off similar announcements from other studios.
Universal moved a Tom Hanks movie, “Bios,” from April to August, and a Bob Odenkirk thriller, “Nobody,” from February to April. Sony delayed five films, including “Peter Rabbit 2”, “Cinderella” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” to June, July and November, respectively. Disney postponed three films beyond their original spring dates, including “The King’s Man.” Universal’s specialty studio, Focus Features, postponed “Last Night in Soho” from April to October.
CNET offers a full list of the schedule changes.