A rumor was doing the rounds of the internet recently that Daniel Craig's final James Bond movie, No Time to Die, is being shopped around to streamers by MGM. Now, it is reported that MGM is still planning on releasing the film in cinemas. A spokesperson for MGM said Saturday that the movie is not for sale.
"We are not commenting on the rumor. The film is not for sale. The movie will release in April 2021 in theaters."
Sounds pretty cut and dried. Except nothing is cut and dried about film releases in the current era of social distancing. After being delayed repeatedly all through 2020, No Time to Die finally set its sights on a 2021 release. But even that date is tentative. If social distancing measures do not ease up by that time, and theater-going audiences continue to stay away from cinemas, the studio will be forced to postpone the movie yet again.
It is because of the uncertainty surrounding movie theaters reopening that Bond fans were actually happy to hear Craig's final movie might be getting released on streaming, so they could finally watch it after more than a year's worth of promotions. For his part, Craig has promised that No Time to Die will release when the time is right.
"Here's the deal. This thing is just bigger than all of us, and we just want people to go and see this movie in the right way and safe way. Cinemas all around the world are closed at the moment and we want to release the movie at the same time all around the world and this isn't the right time."
No Time to Die sees James Bond living a peaceful life with his paramour Madeleine Swann. Until a shadowy danger from her past rears its head, in the shape of Safin, an adversary of Bond and Swann and a terrorist leader seeking revenge. The director of the movie described Safin as "More dangerous than anyone [Bond has] ever encountered," and stated Safin is a "hyper-intelligent and worthy adversary".
Fans are hoping the movie will prove a fitting sendoff for Craig, who many feel rescued the James Bond franchise from cultural irrelevancy in 2006 with Casino Royale when he reimagined Bond as a gruff, no-nonsense secret agent who spent more time getting his hands dirty catching criminals than drinking martinis and bedding women.
The question, "To stream, or not to stream?" is one that every major Hollywood studio is currently asking with regards to its backlog of movies that need to be released. Disney already caved in terms of releasing their recent live-action remake of Mulan on Disney+, which many industry analysts felt would result in a domino effect of other studios also following suit with their films. Only time will tell if that will indeed be the case.
Directed and co-written by Cary Fukunaga, No Time to Die features Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Ana de Armas, Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen and Rami Malek. This news first appeared at Entertainment Weekly.