'No Time to Die': Is the Next James Bond Still Hitting Theaters?

No Time to Die is the 25th James Bond film and is set to be the final outing as the character for Daniel Craig. Craig has had the longest tenure with the series yet with nearly fifteen years since the release of Casino Royale.

Originally set for release in Fall 2019, production issues and the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed No Time to Die to its current release date: April 2, 2021. However, the continued uncertainty surrounding the international theatrical business might continue to mess with the highly-anticipated release.

‘No Time to Die’ is holding out for a theater comeback

As of the end of 2020, No Time to Die is still planned to go ahead as a theatrical release. The film was one of the first to delay in response to the COVID-19 pandemic back in March, initially jumping to November before settling on its current date.

As a $250 million blockbuster in a key franchise for all the studios involved, No Time to Die is thought to need a strong worldwide box office gross to be a success. Considering the current rate at which vaccines are being distributed, it’s up in the air whether people will be safely back in movie theaters by April, so another delay is possible.

MGM has stood firm behind a theatrical release, but it has reportedly considered a streaming option for the film. Streaming players like Netflix and Apple were said to be in talks at one point to acquire the film. The deal MGM sought would have been unique: it wanted $600-850 million, and the buyer would only be able to host the film for a year. Talks broke down when no streamer would offer more than $400 million.

While MGM’s current line is that the film is not for sale, if the pandemic continues much longer they may have to reconsider. Warner Bros., for example, has bitten the bullet and announced plans to release all of their 2021 films on HBO Max for a month, alongside theaters. This includes, for the time being, the likes of Dune, Godzilla vs. Kong, and The Matrix 4.

The film will conclude Daniel Craig’s time as Bond

No Time to Die is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the first American filmmaker to helm a Bond adventure. Fukunaga is also making the jump to blockbusters with the film, having previously stuck to smaller fare like Beasts of No Nation and season 1 of True Detective. He boarded the project after Trainspotting director Danny Boyle departed due to creative differences with EON Productions.

In addition to Craig, the film will also see the return of Ralph Fiennes as M, Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Lea Seydoux as Madeleine Swann, and Christoph Waltz as Blofeld. The film finds Bond coming out of retirement following the events of Spectre to confront Safin, an international terrorist played by Rami Malek.

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