Is movie theatre-going on the brink of irrevocable change that goes beyond the rescheduling of movie releases? All around the world, countries are battling daily coronavirus case numbers that are surpassing the peak of the spring wave, threatening cinema closures, and more draconian measures that could have lasting implications on movie-going culture.
Hollywood and Cinemaplex theatres were dealt yet another blow with the much-anticipated James Bond film being postponed to spring of next year, leaving no blockbusters on the movie theatre-going calendar until Christmas (for now) as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc with all phases of the film industry.
Separately, under current guidelines, this latest pushback takes No Time To Die out of the 2021 Oscars race – where it might have had a measure of success; that is according to early odds across sports betting platforms, where entertaining odds and betting on the Oscars is now a thing.
The premiere of Daniel Craig’s last outing as the dashing, British secret agent 007 in ‘No Time To Die’ had already been moved from April to November because of the unprecedented global pandemic.
But now it has been further delayed until 2 April 2021, a full year after it was originally scheduled to release, “in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience”, according to a statement issued via the film’s official Twitter account.
The statement said: “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 2021 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.”
Before MGM’s announcement, speculation was already rife amongst film insiders whether the studio would in fact adhere to the November 20 release date. Tepid box office returns for other movies released in the fall, including the hyped-up Christopher Nolan blockbuster Tenet, not only confirmed what was long suspected but also revealed just how widespread the public’s reluctance was to return to cinemas.
The Sci-fi epic cost approximately $200m to make but it barely broke even after a month of circulation, taking $243m internationally, which includes merely $41m in the US where box office earnings are severely handicapped by cinema closures in major markets such as NY York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The 2015 Bond film, Spectre, brought in almost $900m worldwide at the box office and it went on to win an Oscar for best original song.
Theatre closures are surging on a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that is making its presence felt around the world.
The 25th iteration of the James Bond saga, isn’t the only movie to be reshuffled on the calendar this year. The superhero mega-movie Black Widow, featuring Scarlett Johansson, has been pushed back from November 6 to May 7 of next year; as well, the much-anticipated remake of West Side Story by Steven Spielberg, which promised a lot of Oscar 2021 buzz, has been pushed back a year from December 2020 to December 2021. Warner Bros’ Dune and Wonder Woman: 1984 are still scheduled for release over the holidays – at least, that’s the case for now.
The ramifications of the disruption caused by the extraordinary public health crises are reaching a pivotal point, as Cinemaplex stocks took a sharp nosedive in early October following the latest rescheduling of release dates – with the Motion Picture Association and various trade groups within the film industry sending out a warning that their survival hangs in the balance.
Against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Cinemaworld Group shutdown temporarily over 500 Regal locations across the United States and the United Kingdom, and IMAX in Canada announced it would furlough over 150 employees.
Director Patty Jenkins, whose Wonder Woman movie has been subjected to three separate delays, issued a warning earlier this week that movie theatre-going could be headed to extinction if the current course isn’t somehow altered.
“If we shut this down, this will not be a reversible process,” she said in an interview with Reuters. “We could lose movie theatre-going forever.”
Recent headlines involving the movie industry are giving pause for concern.