“No Time to Die” Pushed Back: A Breakdown

Character+posters+for+the+upcoming+James+Bond+film%2C+%22No+Time+to+Die%22.

Copyright: MGM

Character posters for the upcoming James Bond film, "No Time to Die".

Carson Zorn, Writer

Bad news Bond fans. The highly anticipated conclusion to Daniel Craig’s run as 007, “No Time to Die,” has been pushed by MGM back from its April 10th release date due to concerns over the Coronavirus. It has been pushed all the way to November 25th. The following is a breakdown of the finances, reasoning and why it actually makes sense for MGM to push the film back. 

Reasons for pushing it back:

The biggest reason that the film was pushed back is the Covid-19 outbreak. Obviously, the studio cares about public health and doesn’t want anyone to get sick over a movie, but more important to the studio is the box office money. China is the second biggest movie market in the world and the Coronavirus is hitting there the hardest. So far from January to March, China’s box office has lost $2 Billion due to the Coronavirus. The last Bond film “Spectre” grossed $83.5 million in China, so MGM decided against losing somewhere in the $70-80 million range for this movie. It also allows for the box office to recover in America, and open the door for better box office in Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, South Korea and more. It’s a smart move by the studio in terms of both public safety and finances.

Financial Effect:

Although MGM might be saving itself about $80 million or more (due to box office from other countries), it is being reported that the studio will still take about a $30 million hit. This extra money is mostly due to what it will cost to market the movie for another eight months, more than the studio originally anticipated it would have to spend. They already spent almost $4.5 million for a Super Bowl spot in February. The budget for this film is rumored to be about $245 million, not even counting marketing and adding an extra $30 million to the marketing number will likely push the total cost of the film to over $300 million. The movie could possibly gross $300 million in the U.S. alone, but I think it’s more likely that it ends up somewhere in the low to mid $200s. But, hopefully the virus will be tamed by November and the film can gain a lot of money from overseas. The Bond films have done well internationally, especially in the UK and China. The last Bond film “Spectre,” took about $200 million domestically, and then $680 million from overseas. With this being Daniel Craig’s last film as the character it’s possible the film could cross the $900 million threshold, with a long shot at a billion. So while delaying the movie will cause the studio to take a little bit more of a financial hit, it will all work out in the end and taking the $30 million hit over a possible $100 million or more hit was the right call.

So why November?:

Obviously, the biggest reason to push the movie back almost eight months is to give the world time to solve the Coronavirus pandemic. However, I don’t think an April release date should’ve even been there in the first place. All of Daniel Craig’s Bond films have been released in November of their respective years, and have done very well at the box office. His first outing “Casino Royale” grossed $616.5 million worldwide. The follow-up “Quantum of Solace” dipped a little bit with $589.5 million. But, then the intake skyrocketed with “Skyfall” which grossed $1.1 billion. The most recent entry “Spectre” grossed $880.6 million. November is a good release time for the Bond movies because it is great counterprogramming. Usually movies in November are either family movies or Oscar contenders. The Bond films stand out from the pack and capitalize on the lack of competition and thrive over Thanksgiving weekend. Most recently “Knives Out,” coincidentally starring Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas, capitalized on the lack of competition (other than “Frozen II”) and had a great Thanksgiving weekend and held steady at the box office, finishing its run with $308.6 million, almost unheard of for an original mystery film. Spy movies never do well in the early months of the year. One of the more recent examples was the Jennifer Lawrence lead “Red Sparrow,” which was released in March of 2018. That movie finished its run at the box office with only $151.5 million. Obviously, Bond is a more household name and would’ve done much better than that, but pushing it back to November was the right call by the studio.

 

So there it is, Bond fans. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until November to see the conclusion to Craig’s run as Bond (I’ll be waiting too, I’m in the same boat as you all). But, pushing the movie back was a smart financial decision for the studio, and potentially insures the health of millions.