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James Bond's distributor Universal pushes a movie from October to 2021

09-Jul-2020 • No Time To Die

It was announced today that John Carpenter's 'Halloween Kills'' would be moving its October 16th, 2020 release date a whole year to October 2021.

Why is this relevant to the 25th James Bond film? 

While United Artists Releasing (co-owned by MGM) will distribute 'No Time To Die' in North America, Universal will handle distribution for the rest of the world. The latter just pulled one of their big releases from October 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty about box-office conditions.

'No Time To Die' is currently scheduled to open in the UK just 3 weeks after the original release date of 'Halloween Kills.' 

The same calculations about the state of the US and global box-office must be in play for 007, too.  North America should account for approximately 25% of a modern Bond film's box-office, with the rest of the world (this time distributed by Universal) responsible for the other 75%. Universal has a big say in when this film will be released.

'Halloween Kills' had a modest production budget of $10m, but there was enough uncertainty for Universal to bump the film a whole year to ensure it made enough money. 'No Time To Die' had an eye-watering production budget of $250m.

If a further delay for Bond is announced, it does not necessarily follow that it will also be kicked a whole year down the release schedule calendar. 'Halloween Kills' was, by its title, tied to the October holiday. It would make little sense to release the film at any other time of year. 

Early in the pandemic, Universal delayed their new Fast & Furious outing a whole year to April 2021, so it is unlikely that they would be willing to run two simultaneous global marketing campaigns, leaving the next available window for as summer 2021. The last time a Bond film opened in the summer was 1989's Licence To Kill.

Neither EON Productions, MGM, or Universal have indicated another delay for 'No Time To Die' is coming (not that there was any public warning of previous release date changes), but the signs are that fans may want to brace themselves for another 'redating.'

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