Coronavirus: James Bond film pushed to November as global box office suffers

James Bond has been delayed.
James Bond has been delayed. Photo credit: Getty / MGM.

The latest James Bond film won't be released in April after an "evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace" heavily affected by the deadly coronavirus.

MGM, Universal and the producers of the Bond films, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, announced on Thursday morning that No Time To Die had been moved from its April release date to November. 

"The film will be released in the UK on November 12, 2020, with worldwide release dates to follow, including the US launch on November 25, 2020."

The announcement noted that the decision followed "careful consideration" and an evaluation of the global marketplace. It is likely the spread of COVID-19 in China, the second-largest movie market in the world, and throughout Europe, where Bond is beloved, forced the move. Many countries have begun considering banning large gatherings and stopping cultural events. Seventy-thousand theatres in China have closed.

Some analysts suggest that up to US$5 billion could be lost across the global box office.

Earlier this week, an open letter was also written to the film's producers by fan website M16. It said the health of the audience and those facilitating the film's release should be put first.  

"The health and well-being of fans around the world, and their families, is more important. We have all waited over four years for this film. Another few months will not damage the quality of the film and only help the box-office for Daniel Craig's final hurrah," said the letter.

To put into perspective the potential financial risk of releasing a film in China at the moment, it's important to note the total ticket revenue in the country in the 20 days before February 12, which includes Chinese New Year, was US$3.9 million. That's compared to US$1.52 billion in the same period last year, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The previous James Bond film, Spectre, made US$83.5 million in China of its US$880.6 million gross.