No Time to Die: Movie Industry Execs Say James Bond Delay Could Be Disastrous for Theaters

Hollywood's just one of many industries severely impacted by the ongoing global pandemic and now, some industry insiders have a pretty grim outlook about what's to come. Friday afternoon, MGM delayed No Time to Die to next April, bumping it out of its November slot and removing yet another tentpole feature from exhibitor's 2020 schedules. As it stands now, there remain just two blockbusters currently scheduled for 2020; Dune and Wonder Woman 1984, two features from Warner Brothers, both currently have December release dates.

After a lukewarm reception from Tenet — yet another feature from Warner Brothers — it's shown studios aren't rushing to get back to the box office, especially when consumer confidence is at an all-time low when it comes to attending movie theaters.

“The theatrical landscape is a vortex, and it’s clear that no big blockbuster can survive right now,” Exhibitor Relations head Jeff Bock told Variety Friday. “That’s why everything is going to be pushed back to 2021.”

Another insider told the trade it's all but guaranteed a blockbuster won't open until theaters in the nation's top two markets — New York and Los Angeles — have re-opened at least on a semi-permanent basis. Theaters remain closed in both cities.

“I don’t see any big-budget film opening until New York and Los Angeles have reopened,” MKM Partners analyst said. “The economics just don’t work.”

Handler added that he thinks people are seeing the fact theaters have ramped up all kinds of safety measures, but aren't going to theaters because there's no new content to consume. Curiously enough, that situation would create the vortex Bock explained earlier, where studios aren't releasing new content because they believe customers won't attend screenings.

A group of filmmakers sent forth a Congressional lobbying effort earlier this week, asking Congress to consider give aid to exhibitors in an upcoming stimulus package.

“If we don’t have any movies until we’re fully vaccinated as a world, a lot of the theater companies are going to be gone and the theaters themselves won’t be there,” National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) head John Fithian told Variety Friday afternoon. “So your infrastructure to play your movies and get grosses will not be the same. This idea of waiting out the pandemic to make your movies more profitable doesn’t make sense to me. There won’t be as much of an industry left to play your movies in if you do that.”

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No Time to Die has now been pushed to April 2, 2021.

Cover photo by LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images