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The biggest movie news of the week came a couple days ago when MGM announced that the 25th James Bond movie, No Time to Die, was being delayed to November, barely a month before it was scheduled to hit theaters. The last minute decision was made due to the on going coronavirus outbreak, and the impact that has had in various places around the world. Movie theaters in China are still closed and even in places where they are still open, there are many nations where fewer people are willing to gather in public for fear of exposure.
It's going to cost studio MGM a minimum of $30 million, and possibly as much as $50 million to push the movie back from April to November. The bulk of the cost comes from marketing. No Time To Die had already spent a lot of money ahead of the film's planned April release, including a multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad, and now a lot of that money is going to need to be spent again six months from now when No Time To Die's November release comes along and the film will need to be promoted again.
That's a lot of money, to be sure, but according to sources talking to THR, releasing the movie in April would have been much worse. In that case, it appears that due to the coronavirus No Time To Die could have made as much as 30% less than it otherwise might in global box office receipts due to closed theaters. For a film that could break the $1 billion barrier at the global box office, that's a $300 million hit or more, and at that point, the math is easy. And for a movie that is apparently the most expensive James Bond movie ever, every dollar counts.
Spectre made 10% of its global box office total in China, where theaters are closed with no plans to reopen. James Bond movies obviously make a huge chunk of money in the U.K. where theaters are currently open, but there's a fear that closures could happen, and if that does transpire sometime in the next month, it would be a disaster for No Time to Die.
As much as No Time To Die will take a financial hit because of the delay, it's a much smaller one than it would take if it remained on course. Although, that assumes that come the fall, things are in a better place as far as the coronavirus goes.
One has to wonder if other films might make similar moves. Disney's Mulan has been banking on a strong showing in China, and it's set to open in three weeks. As of now, Mulan's release is still on track.
No Time To Die is now set to open November 25, 2020.