PART FIVE: TRY, TRY AGAIN
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) forced another delay in the release date of No Time to Die after a big marketing push had already been unleased for the now-canceled November date.
Oct. 2, 2020: Calvin Dyson posts a reaction video soon after news of the latest delay goes out.
Oct. 2, 2020: The Bond Experience weighs in with a reaction video. I do like that preview image.
Oct. 2, 2020: Being James Bond’s Joe Darlington weighs in.
Oct. 3, 2020: James King, host of the official No Time to Die podcast, says on Twitter that the remaining five episodes are being suspended and will go out sometime closer to the new April 2020 (for now) release of the 25th James Bond film. This is probably the least surprising news of an eventful week.
Oct. 3-4 (depending on time zone), 2020: Rupert Murdoch’s “respectable” Sunday Times and his tabloid Sun both write about plans by Cineworld, the U.K.’s largest theater chain to shut down because of No Time To Die’s delay. The move would cost 5,500 jobs, the Murdoch press says.
Oct. 3, 2020: Variety also carries a story about Cineworld’s plans, saying that also means shutting down 543 Regal theaters in the U.S. Again, No Time to Die’s delay is cited as the last straw.
Oct. 4, 2020: Variety publishes an interview with John Fithian, head of the National Association of Theatre Owners. Fithian asserts that No Time to Die may have stayed with the November 2020 release date if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had permitted movie theaters to reopen.
“The failure of Gov. Cuomo to allow movie theaters to reopen anywhere in his state was a principal, if not exclusive, cause of the Bond movie” changing its release date to April 2021, Fithian told Variety. “If New York remains closed to theater operations, other movies scheduled for 2020 will move as well.”
Oct. 5, 2020: Hans Zimmer lead No Time to Die composer, publishes a Twitter post acknowledging the release date delay. “Happy #JamesBondDay! Looking forward to sharing #NoTimeToDie with you in April 2021. @007“
Oct. 5, 2020: Daniel Craig appears on The Tonight Show. He says little new. The latest delay was so No Time to Die could be shown worldwide at the same time, the actor says. (This is a variation on last week’s announcement of the delay.) Billie Eilish and Finneas conduct “the first U.S. performance!” of No Time to Die’s title song. There is a short clip from the Matera sequence where Craig/Bond jumps from the bridge. It’s also has a bit of the Steve Mazzaro-Hans Zimmer score. (Remember, Zimmer told Variety that Mazzaro’s name should be first. I am merely honoring his wishes.) There are also No Time to Die-themed ads from Omega and Heineken.
Oct. 6, 2020: After the broadcast, The Tonight Show posted on YouTube part of the Craig appearance. It includes the No Time to Die clip.
Oct. 10, 2020: Haphazard Stuff produces a short video comparing the cycle of No Time to Die delays to a fondly remembered movie with Bill Murray.
Oct. 10, 2020: The Wall Street Journal publishes a feature story on No Time to Die director Cary Fukunaga. (Story is behind a paywall) Fukunaga shows the reporter the pre-titles sequence, which is described in the article.
There’s also a lot of background (as anyone who has followed this timeline will know). Barbara Broccoli is quoted in the story as saying Fukunaga exceeded all expectations. Personally, I wonder if this feature was set up before the latest delay.
Oct. 11, 2020: The Wall Street Journal publishes an article about Anchorage Capital Group, the lead hedge fund in the group that owns Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The Journal describes mounting pressure on Kevin Ulrich, head of the hedge fund, to do a deal with MGM. It also states that MGM CEO Gary Barber was fired more than two years ago because he was in unauthorized talks to sell MGM to Apple Inc.
Oct. 13, 2020: Total Film releases a behind-the-scenes image from No Time to Die. WordPress isn’t letting me post the image for “security reasons.” (Whatever). CLICK HERE to see a story with the image.
Oct. 13, 2020: The MI6 James Bond website tweets out two images releases by Total Film.
Oct. 13, 2020: Calvin Dyson does a video analyzing the Oct. 5 telecast of The Tonight Show and the clip of No Time to Die that was shown.
Oct. 14, 2020: Total film runs an online excerpt of its No Time to Die feature. Barbara Broccoli says Eon hasn’t yet cast an actor to replace Daniel Craig. Her comments read very much like previous remarks she has made. “I always say: you can only be in love with one person at a time. Once the film’s come out, then some time will pass, and then we’ll have to get on to the business of the future. But for now, we just cannot think about anything beyond Daniel.”
Oct. 17, 2020: This Is Money, part of the Daily Mail, publishes a story about Danjaq LLC and Eon Productions get lots of U.K. tax breaks but pay little in U.K. taxes.
Oct. 18, 2020: The Media Equation column of The New York Times looks at another reason why MGM is struggling. In 2015, the studio bought the company of reality television producer Mark Burnett. But Burnett has lost is touch and has come out with flops as part of MGM.
Oct. 22, 2020: Drew McWeeney, a veteran entertainment journalist, puts out a tweet saying, “I can’t get my head around the idea that we may well see James Bond debut on Apple TV+ or Netflix. The numbers I’ve been hearing the last few days are I N S A N E…”
He then makes a reply to another Twitter user: “There is serious pressure on MGM to sell the film to a streaming service. And there are some MONSTER offers on the table already.” No additional details, including how he obtained this information.
Oct. 23, 2020: Binged, a website out of India, posts a story saying “the entertainment industry is rife with hushed whispers” that No Time to Die may be sold to a streaming service “for insane amounts of money.” This phrasing is similar to @DrewMcweeny’s tweets. His name is not on the story. It is credited only to “Binged” and no individual writer.
Oct. 23, 2020: The MI6 James Bond website posts a story about how MGM may sell the North American streaming rights for No Time to Die. “MI6 understands that those offers started at $200m are now heading towards $250m – just for the North America streaming rights.” The story discusses how the finances could work. “MGM receiving a big lump sum also removes them from any risk on how much the film will earn – that responsibility will be for the buyer to worry about.”
Oct. 23, 2020: Bloomberg also carries a story about MGM having been in discussions with Apple and Nextflix. MGM denies No Time to Die is for sale. Whether that denial lasts beyond today remains to be seen.
Oct. 23, 2020: Drew McWeeny publishes a newsletter that elaborates on the No Time to Die situation. (CLICK HERE and scroll down to the second item.)
Oct. 24, 2020: Variety publishes a story about the situation. The outlet said MGM was seeking a $600 million deal for No Time to Die but some of the streaming services (not identified in the article) found that too expensive.
Oct. 24, 2020: Deadline: Hollywood (a sister website to Variety) posts its version of events.
“Bloomberg wrote about a rumor that has been making the rounds the last week and a half, that MGM offered the film to streamers Netflix, Apple and Amazon for a proposed one year license of $600 million, with the possibility that legacy Bond titles might stream on whatever service won the property. Discussions clearly happened, but Deadline hears none of the streamers was willing to put up more than half that amount, and James Bond franchise controller Eon and principal producer Barbara Broccoli nixed the deal and might have been surprised negotiations were taking place.”
Whatever. Bloomberg didn’t even originate the story. A long-standing technique is when you’ve been scooped, you try to say why the scoop doesn’t amount to much. We’ll see.
Oct. 27, 2020: The Hollywood Reporter publishes a story saying Apple didn’t offer MGM enough to show No Time to Die on streaming. Apple considered offering in the $350 million to $400 million range for a one-year license. MGM wanted $650 million to $700 million, possibly more. Also, THR says, MGM didn’t initially consult with Danjaq/Eon about such a deal and Barbara Broccoli didn’t like it.
Oct. 30, 2020: Variety runs its own behind-the-scenes story about No Time to Die’s finances. The outlet says the movie’s “net budget (even factoring in product placement and tax breaks) was $301 million, the most expensive Bond film of all time.
Nov. 3, 2020: GQ publishes a story about Rami Malek, with lot of photos of the actor wearing expensive clothes. He hypes the movie about great it’s going to be when you finally get to see it. Right, champ. Whenever that is.
Nov. 3, 2020: Harper’s Bazaar comes out with a cover featuring Lashana Lynch. It also provides a spoiler for No Time to Die. Rather than post that cover image here, you view it via THIS TWEET by the MI6 James Bond website. To actually see the spoiler, you have to click on the image in that tweet. Again, it’s hard (for me at least) to get upset given all the delays.
Nov. 3, 2020: Apparently this is STFU day for No Time to Die. Cary Fukunaga boasts to The Playlist website about how wonderful the Safin villain is. The director boasts how Safin is “bigger” than Blofeld. (Given Christoph Waltz’s underwhelming performance in SPECTRE, that’s not much of a boast.) Guys, get back to us when WE CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE MOVIE.
Nov. 3, 2020: The entire Harper’s Bazaar story about Lashana Lynch is online. The spoiler is in the headline.
Nov. 8, 2020: Variety publishes an interview with John Fithian, head of the National Association of Theatre Owners. His group is seeking U.S. assistance for movie theaters. But he also predicts that Bond movies (including No Time to Die) will continue to be seen in movie theaters first, rather than streaming services.
Nov. 12-13, 2020: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer releases its third-quarter financial report on Nov. 12. The next day, it posts a recording of a call with investors. On the call, MGM management says the decision to shift No Time to Die’s release date was the best move to make amid the COVID-19 pandemic. No investors ask anything about the news reports that the studio was shopping NTTD to streaming services.
Nov. 19, 2020: The Hollywood Reporter, in a story be veteran journalist Kim Masters, paints a picture of MGM being a hot mess. The story focuses primarily on Mark Burnett, who heads MGM’s television operation. But this quote from an unidentified executive won’t make Bond fans easily about the franchise’s home studio: “Everyone does their own thing. It’s a rudderless ship.”
Nov. 24, 2020: Billie Eilish gets a Grammy nomination for the No Time to Die song in the category of Best Song Written for Visual Media. At this rate, the song will be one of the most exposed Bond songs ahead of a 007 film coming out.
Nov. 25, 2020: The Los Angeles Times runs its own article about dysfunction at MGM. It’s pretty similar to other reports. But this passage caught my eye: “‘(Bond is) MGM’s golden goose, but it’s the Broccolis’ platinum goose,’ said one producer familiar with the franchise who requested anonymity to avoid repercussions.” Put another way: It’s still a hot mess. h/t Jack Lugo for the heads up.
Dec. 1, 2020: B25 Ltd., formed by Eon Productions to make No Time to Die, makes a U.K. regulatory filing. (CLICK HERE to see a list of its filings.) The filing says the movie’s “work in progress” (or cost) was 213,916,164 British pounds, or almost $288 million, as of June 30. Maybe that’s one reason Eon-licensed Bond merchandise costs so much.
Dec. 3, 2020: Warner Bros. announces its 2021 film slate will debut on streaming service HBO Max and theaters. The movies will be on HBO Max for 31 days, then be exclusive to theaters. (CLICK HERE for the Variety story.) This isn’t directly related to No Time to Die. But it shows growing pressure on studios to embrace streaming.
Dec. 17, 2020: Variety publishes a story with Billie Eilish, Finneas, Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr discussing the creation of the No Time to Die title song.
Dec. 21, 2020: Ho, ho, ho! The Wall Street Journal makes Chistmas week a little more exciting by reporting that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is looking to sell itself (again). (Recall MGM spent much of 2016 trying to sell itself to Chinese investors. Go back to Part I of the timeline for an item about that). MGM has hired investment banks for help. How this affects No Time to Die remains to be seen.
Jan. 7, 2021: A new No Time to Die publicity of Bond (Daniel Craig) in Jamaica still is emerges. Fans immediately look to see what books and booze Bond has.
Jan. 10-11, 2021: Carlo Lambregts, a Dutch theater owner is interviewed by Dutch outlet BN DeStern. That is published Jan. 19. He says he *knows* that No Time to Die has been delayed again to November 2021 despite the lack of an official announcement. A day later, The Playlist runs a story summarizing DeStern’s comments. It’s certainly plausible. COVID-19 is causing shutdowns in various countries.
Jan. 11, 2021: Variety runs a story listing No Time to Die as among various films, currently with early 2021 release dates, that are likely to be pushed back. No hard information this will happen but the article lays out the case why a delay is a good bet.
Jan. 12, 2021: The Deadline entertainment website said it’s hearing that No Time to Die is likely to exit its current April release date. Deadline says the movie’s promotional partners have been given a heads up (unlike last time when they were running No Time to Die-themed ads right up to the delay announcement). No new release date is known.
Jan. 21, 2021: No Time to Die is delayed again, this time to Oct. 8, 2021. No reason is given. COVID-19 is probably a factor. A press release on the official 007 site of Eon Productions says only: “No Time To Die will be released in cinemas globally on 8 October 2021.” An Eon post on Twitter says even less: “NO TIME TO DIE 8 October 2021.”
The Bond 25 timeline will return...as the saga continues in PART VI: HOLDING PATTERN