Most Read 2020
29th December 2020
The top ten stories that Bond fans read around the world this year
By MI6 Staff
It will come as little surprise that the most read articles in 2020 are dominated by the coverage of 'No Time To Die''s rollercoaster production and release date chaos. Without a new continuation novel or videogame release, and the world on lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there was not a lot of other news to cover, but a few quirks did pop up in the analysis of the year's reading. Here are the top ten most-digested articles of 2020, starting at...
One of the quirks of the James Bond canon is that his creator, Ian Fleming, never gave his character a birthday. That was seemingly resolved by continuation novelist (and Fleming biographer) John Pearson in 1973. Whilst this tidbit has been oft-repeated, the context of Pearson's date may not belong to the James Bond we know.
Watching the Bond films in restored 4K versions on various streaming platforms in 2020 has popped up a number of fine details that have been missed or were imperceivable in previous SD or HD home releases. One such gem was director Terence Young giving the trio of assassins a creepy presence that has been lost on audiences for decades.
Back in February, MGM plowed ahead with their $3m ad-spend to have 'No Time To Die' promoted during the Super Bowl on US television just as fears of Coronavirus becoming a global pandemic that would lock down nations and shutter cinemas around the world were becoming realised. MGM announced a delay to the film a few weeks later.
With no route to a theatrical release in sight, MGM started quietly shopping the idea of 'No Time To Die' to various streaming platforms in October. Starting at $200-250m for the North American rights for one year, this later jumped to $400m and then later $800m for worldwide rights according to different trade reports. EON Productions shut the activity down and re-inforced that they were willing to wait for a traditional release.
Tie-in merchandise for 'No Time To Die' had a rough year, from the popcorn company who popped all their kernels only to see the April release move to November past the expiry date of their snack, to Heineken pulling back Bond-themed point of sale a day after it was delivered, but one company seemingly came out AOK. Swatch launched a limited edition model as worn by Q in the film that involved costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb in its creation.
Rumours of the lion's investors looking for an 'out' started in October, but the studio made it official in December when they hired outside companies to assist the sale of MGM. With 'No Time To Die' still unreleased, it could be a complicated New Year for 007 with whoever takes over having their own release strategy.
Kicking off the New Year, MI6 exclusively revealed that Billie Eilish would be performing the title song for 'No Time To Die'. She had not been previously linked with the project. Two days later, Eilish officially announced she had landed the gig. The song was released a month later during MGM's push for the ill-fated April release date. Due to the delay of the film in to 2021, Eilish's song will no longer qualify for an Oscar.
In the summer, some thought things were looking good for 'No Time To Die' to be released in November after all, but the tide changed quickly. With other studios moving their tentpole movies to 2021, MI6 reported on discussions between MGM and Universal to also move 007 to 2021. Given that the last time MGM left it late and burned $30m in marketing, the big question was how long would they wait to make the next call? The predictable answer was that MGM would leave it right up until the 30-day window again, waiting until October 2nd to announce its move to 2021, despite promotional partners being given the green light to release all their wares the week before.
Production documents from 'No Time To Die' made their way online and various plot points emerged. Needless to say, this article contains spoilers.
On March 2nd, 2020, this site published an open letter to EON Productions, MGM, and Universal calling on them to put public health above marketing release schedules and the cost of canceling publicity events as the Coronavirus was reaching pandemic status. Trade press including the Hollywood Reporter and Variety quickly ran the story. The next day, BBC news splashed it as their main entertainment headline. 48 hours after the letter was released, and with press around the world running the story and bringing visibility to the issue, MGM bowed to the inevitability of the situation and announced the delay. The fan community was in shock and reactions split between anger and astonishment. A few weeks later, when 'No Time To Die' was scheduled to have been released in April 2020, most Western countries were in lockdown, and cinemas were closed. Some fans are still angry. In all likelihood, we will be seeing yet another delay from the current April 2021 date.
Despite being published back in 2016, 'Dolly Never Wore Braces' still remains in the top 20 most-read articles this year. The controversy around this Mandela Effect moment in the Bond series continues with strength. If this boggles your mind, be sure to read the comments on the video Calvin Dyson released on the subject earlier this year.