You know it’s bad when James Bond still can’t get out of the house.
“No Time to Die,” the 25th film in the Bond franchise, was delayed for a third time late Thursday, the surest sign yet that Hollywood does not believe the masses will be ready to return to movie theaters anytime soon. The $250 million movie will now arrive in theaters on Oct. 8, according to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
It had been scheduled to debut last April. As the coronavirus continued to surge, that plan was abandoned for a November debut. Most recently, the expected blockbuster had been set for an April 2 landing.
Studios, worried about plodding vaccination efforts in the United States, were already postponing major films (again). Sony Pictures recently pushed “Morbius,” starring Jared Leto as the Marvel pseudo-vampire, to Oct. 8 from March 19. Universal and Amblin Entertainment pushed “Bios,” starring Tom Hanks on a post-apocalyptic Earth, to Aug. 13 from April 16.
But the retreat of “No Time to Die” could prompt additional dominoes to fall. It had been the first mega-film scheduled for the post-vaccine era. That honor now goes to the Marvel prequel “Black Widow” (May 7), followed by Universal’s latest “Fast & Furious” installment (May 28). The problem: Nobody is particularly eager to test the market by going first — especially not after what happened to Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.”
Warner Bros. had tried to jump-start moviegoing in September by releasing “Tenet,” even though many theaters were still closed and others were operating at limited capacity. The film collected $363 million worldwide, a very respectable total under the circumstances, but one that disappointed Hollywood nonetheless. (Mr. Nolan’s films typically collect more than double that amount.)
More recently, “Wonder Woman 1984” has taken in an anemic $143 million worldwide, with its instant availability online in the United States undercutting ticket sales, along with fear about the resurging virus.