The upcoming James Bond film has been postponed to next year, leaving no big movie releases until Christmas in the US as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on Hollywood.
MGM’s No Time To Die, the last outing for Daniel Craig as the British secret agent, had been one of the few holdouts left in a year during which dozens of hundred-million dollar blockbusters have been delayed.
The film had been scheduled to debut on November 20 but is being pushed back for a second time, after tepid results for other recent movies suggested audiences are reluctant to come back to the cinema.
Tenet, a Christopher Nolan science fiction epic, debuted in cinemas last month to a lacklustre response. The movie, which cost roughly $200m to make, has so far made only $41m domestically, according to industry site Box Office Mojo.
Cinemas in much of the US reopened with gusto last month but without New York and Los Angeles, two of the country’s biggest movie markets, whose state governments still prohibit moviegoing.
The delay of No Time To Die will leave American cinemas with virtually no big movies to lure people until late December, when Warner Bros’ Dune and Wonder Woman: 1984 are still scheduled for release.
The Motion Picture Association and other trade groups this week made a plea to Congress for government aid for cinemas, warning they were in danger of extinction because of the pandemic.
“If that status quo remains, 69 per cent of small and midsized movie theatre companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently,” they said in a letter to lawmakers, signed by Hollywood heavyweights including Greta Gerwig, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese.
London-based Cineworld, the second-largest cinema chain in the world, reported a $1.6bn loss in the first six months of the year while casting doubt on its ability to survive.
Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive, said the cinema chain was looking at “every kind of possibility” for raising capital and that it had made progress in negotiations with lenders over covenant waivers.