no time to die
Nicola Dove/MGM
Entertainment

The New James Bond Movie 'No Time To Die' Just Got Delayed Because of Coronavirus

No Time to Die, the latest James Bond adventure starring Daniel Craig, will not be released in April 2020 as initially scheduled. Instead, the action blockbuster, which is likely to be Craig's final turn in the role as the dashing British secret agent, will now debut on November 15 in the UK and on November 25 in the US due to growing concerns over the global outbreak of the coronavirus. 

MGM, Eon, and Universal, the studios handling the release of the film, announced today that the Bond movie would be postposted. This news came after publicity tours for the movie in China, South Korea, and Japan were already cancelled, citing public health concerns, and the film's Hong Kong release was previously pushed back to April 30. A planned Chinese premiere for the film was also cancelled back in February as the virus spread. 

"MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, announced today that after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of No Time to Die will be postponed until November 2020," the studios said in a statement released to Deadline. "The film will be released in the UK on November 12, 2020 with worldwide release dates to follow, including the US launch on November 25, 2020."

While the coronavirus has already made a major impact on the entertainment industry -- leading to theater closings, travel cancellations, and has kneecapped the Chinese film industry -- this is the first big Hollywood blockbuster to move its release date because of the spread of the virus. (Another cinematic super-spy, Mission: Impossible's Ethan Hunt, faced a production stoppage in Venice last month.) Following the Bond news, there could be a domino effect in the coming months as studios push back the roll-outs of blockbusters like Mulan, which will have its Chinese release delayed, Black Widow, or F9, the latest entry in the Fast and Furious series. Or this could be a unique case of the studios really wanting James Bond to be a hit. 

Movies get delayed for all sorts of reasons -- just last fall, the violent thriller The Hunt, which is now scheduled to come out on March 13, got pulled from theaters after getting swept up in a wave of right-wing media controversy -- but the situation with No Time to Die is unique. It's expensive to shift the date so close to the planned release and there are so many moving pieces to a roll-out like this. For example, Craig is still scheduled to host SNL on March 7 and he will now be promoting a movie that won't come out until fall. 

It's a risky bit of calculus. Clearly, the studio thinks the virus could have a strong effect on the box office performance of the film, and they're hoping the Thanksgiving holiday release, facing off against Godzilla vs. Kong, will provide a better platform for the Bond movie. But it's challenging to predict what the situation with the coronavirus will look like in November. There are currently 137 known coronavirus cases across 13 states in the US and, obviously, many more abroad. 

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Dan Jackson is a senior staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.