The latest James Bond film, and reportedly Daniel Craig‘s final appearance as 007, has already been delayed twice. Originally scheduled for an April 2020 release, No Time To Die was the first major film to announce a coronavirus-related delay. MGM pushed the film back to November, but have since delayed it once more, re-shuffling it to April 2021.
The question now becomes whether cinemas will be ready – or at least ready enough – in April for the film to arrive theatrically. If not, drastic measures have reportedly been discussed. Per Variety, MGM have at least explored an expensive sale of No Time To Die to streaming services in recent months.
Names such as Apple and Netflix are referenced as interested parties, but it’s unclear whether talks for a sale were actually initiated at either of those streamers or another streaming service. Variety also mentions that MGM, if they were going to sell, was reportedly looking for $600 million.
That’s obviously an absurd amount of money, but would probably be the kind of sum MGM would require to let a traditional cashcow like James Bond go somewhere else. The film reportedly cost around $250 million to make. Usually you double the production budget when including marketing costs, so No Time To Die would have to make at least $500 million to essentially break even.
That’s obviously no guarantee right now, so $600 million would be about right. It would ensure MGM wouldn’t take a loss, and they would net around $100 million in profit. Obviously that’s nothing to what 007 films would normally make them – for example, Spectre grossed $880.7 million worldwide, Skyfall over $1 billion – but it they were that concerned, they’d probably take the offer.
However, there’s no sign – at least right now – that MGM is serious about selling the film to a streaming platform. MGM representatives told Variety: “We do not comment on rumours. The film is not for sale. The film’s release has been postponed until April 2021 in order to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers”.
But things can change quickly, and if we get close to April and the pandemic looks about the same as it does now, MGM will be faced with a tough decision.
The studio already reportedly lost between $30 to $50 million when delaying the film the first time, and premium marketing partnerships with brands like Heineken and Omega may put them in a tight spot where more delays begin to really eat away at potential profits.
That’s when selling the film to streaming platforms may become a more viable option. It seems crazy to imagine the latest 007 adventure debuting on Netflix, but that might be the reality Hollywood is facing. The move would have precedent, with Netflix recently acquiring The Trial Of The Chicago 7 from Paramount, while Amazon bought Eddie Murphy‘s Coming 2 America from the same studio.
No Time To Die premiering on a streaming service could potentially shift the industry, though it would depend on many factors like viewing numbers and how much the sale cost. This is all hypothetical right now, but it could get real very soon.
No Time To Die is currently scheduled for a theatrical release on April 2, 2021.