James Bond fans could be forced to wait even longer to see No Time to Die, as studio execs are reportedly mulling a further delay to the movie in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The film was one of the first blockbusters to move when the global health crisis hit, shifting its release from early April until November.
However, with questions about whether cinemas will be able to reopen and whether customers will return immediately, the prospect of another release date shift is very real.
“If it has to wait till next year then so be it,” a source told Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail.
“There are hundreds of millions of dollars involved here. Release it when audiences feel safe to return. But it's a nerve-racking call.”
Bamigboye is a reliable source for James Bond news. He broke the news that Christoph Waltz would return as Blofeld in No Time To Die, and that Phoebe Waller-Bridge was working on the script.
The prospect of an additional delay could pose problems for No Time to Die as the release calendar for 2021 is rapidly filling with postponed 2020 releases, leaving few prime dates available.
Fans have already faced an agonising wait for Daniel Craig’s final Bond adventure, with previous movie Spectre landing in cinemas five years ago — the longest gap between Bond adventures since the six-year hiatus between Licence to Kill and GoldenEye.
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The movie had already experienced a turbulent path to the big screen, but Craig has rubbished talk of No Time to Die being cursed.
He said: “It p***es me off. Because I'm just like: 'don't curse our movie'. And also, we're doing our best here.”
The story of No Time to Die sees Craig’s Bond in retirement, having left the spy game in the final moments of Spectre, departing with Dr Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux).
He is drawn back in by CIA pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) and discovers the threat posed by a technologically adept villain — Rami Malek’s mysterious Safin.
Cary Joji Fukunaga has directed the movie, replacing original filmmaker Danny Boyle, who left over creative differences.
Very few people have seen the finished movie, but Seydoux said the adventure is “very moving” and that she cried while watching it.
No Time to Die is currently due to be released in UK cinemas on 12 November.