New 007 Release Delayed For 3rd Time As Pandemic Continues To Batter Film Industry : Coronavirus Updates No Time to Die, the 25th film in the James Bond saga, is scheduled to premiere in theaters Oct. 8, a year and a half past its original debut date, MGM said Friday.
NPR logo New 007 Release Delayed For 3rd Time As Pandemic Continues To Batter Film Industry

New 007 Release Delayed For 3rd Time As Pandemic Continues To Batter Film Industry

The cast of No Time to Die — Léa Seydoux (from left), Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch — on location in Oracabessa, Jamaica, in 2019. The film's theatrical release is now set for Oct. 8. Leo Hudson/AP hide caption

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Leo Hudson/AP

The cast of No Time to Die — Léa Seydoux (from left), Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch — on location in Oracabessa, Jamaica, in 2019. The film's theatrical release is now set for Oct. 8.

Leo Hudson/AP

Trailers for the latest 007 movie, No Time to Die, have been all over the Internet since late 2019. Its theatrical release has slipped from April, to November, to April 2021. And MGM says it will now slip again, to Oct. 8, a year and a half past the film's first scheduled premiere.

The delay is yet another consequence of the pandemic, which has closed public entertainment venues around the world. The film industry has been struggling with the calculus of whether to release films to a reduced number of theaters with fewer patrons, or put them on streaming services, or not to release them at all until life returns to some sort of normalcy.

For studio blockbusters — which with marketing expenses can cost hundreds of millions of dollars — the decision of when to release is especially fraught and sales strategies have varied.

Audience members in their cars drive past still photos from the Netflix film The Trial of the Chicago 7 at its drive-in premiere in Pasadena, Calif., in October. Studios have withheld some films from indoor theatrical release as a result of the pandemic. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP hide caption

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Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Pixar's Soul skipped theaters entirely and debuted Christmas Day on the Disney Plus subscription streaming service. The industry newspaper Variety reported that Soul was the top-rated streamed show Christmas week.

Warner Bros. chose to release Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day, both in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

But the 25th installment of the James Bond saga is being held for a happier time. So, too, is Dune from Warner Bros., now scheduled for release Oct. 1, a week before No Time to Die.

While some theaters have stayed open, hundreds have closed, notably more than 500 U.S. theaters of Regal Cinemas, which shut down temporarily starting Oct. 9. In addition to awaiting a relaxation of local regulations intended to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, Regal said reopening will depend on when "studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen."