Another huge blockbuster may be skipping theaters in the U.S. in favor of a streaming debut. No Time to Die, the latest entry in the James Bond franchise, was originally supposed to hit theaters this year. First in April, then in November, before MGM delayed its release to 2021. Now, as uncertainty at the box office looms, it is rumored that several major streaming services are in a bidding war for the rights to the highly-anticipated finale to Daniel Craig's run as 007.
Before diving in, we must caution this should merely be regarded as a rumor for the time being until further confirmation is provided. That said, a new report claims that Netflix and Apple TV+ are in the mix to secure the streaming rights to No Time to Die. No figure was provided but it is said they are offering "monstrous sums of money." MGM, additionally, is under pressure to consider a streaming play as movie theaters are facing an uncertain future in the U.S. and 2021 does not provide any guarantee that things will improve enough to justify a big release. Warner Bros. even recently indicated they weren't happy with the financial result for Tenet.
Netflix and Apple both have deep pockets but the question is, are they deep enough to make MGM consider forgoing box office dollars for No Time to Die? Odds are, this would be a domestic deal. With that in mind, let's do some quick math. Skyfall is the most successful James Bond movie to date. It earned $1.1 billion at the global box office, $304 million of which was earned domestically. The studio only takes home roughly half of that money, not to mention what they spent on marketing. So, if MGM could still release the movie in theaters overseas and take home somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million from a streaming service, that might be enough to make the deal worth it.
What we know for sure is that the box office is pretty much on life support right now. Most major movies have vacated 2020 in the hopes that 2021 will provide green pastures. This has left movie theaters with little way to get meat in seats. AMC has warned that they are in serious danger of bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Cineworld, which operates Regal in the U.S., has shut down all of its theaters again indefinitely. Things are not looking good. At the same time, Disney has reorganized its entire media business to prioritize streaming, Disney+ in particular.
Cary Joji Fukunaga directs No Time to Die. Rami Malek is on board to play the main villain, with Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Jeffrey Wright, Ben Whisaw and Naomie Harris rounding out the cast. For the moment, it is set to hit theaters on April 2, 2021. Whether or not that sticks may depend on how much these streaming services are willing to shell out to get in the James Bond business. This news comes to us via Binged.com.