Last October, after yet another delay of its premiere due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported that the 25th instalment in the James Bond franchise, No Time to Die, was potentially being offered to streaming services, among which Netflix and Apple TV+ have been explicitly named.
No Time to Die is the latest instalment in the globally popular franchise about the famed secret agent 007. It was initially set to release in early 2020, but was pushed back due to the pandemic, before finally setting on a tentative Fall 2021 release, but we have yet to see whether the distributors stick to that plan. This movie is going to be the last – as far as we know now – starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, after which a new actor is (probably) going to take over the role.
The official synopsis for the movie reveals the following: “In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.”
The Bidding War
The news of a bidding war among streaming services broke in October 2020, when it was revealed that the studio was considering a streaming release for the newest Bond movie, which was the result of repeated delays caused by the pandemic. Soon after, insider Drew McWeeny revealed that that the forerunners in the newly-started bidding war were Netflix and Apple TV+, both of which have offered the highest amounts for the rights to distribute the newest Bond movie.
When the initial news broke, no exact figures were discussed in the public, but some Twitter-based gossip revealed that the numbers were “insane”.
A few days later, news broke that MGM was demanding an insane amount of $600 million, which was more than either of the two studios were willing to offer. Both Netflix and Apple were, reportedly, ready to go as high as $300 million, but MGM wanted more. The reported sum of $600 million seemed to be too high even for a company as rich as Apple. It just didn’t make sense to buy the rights for such a high amount, as there would be a lot of logistical issues connected to its distribution that wouldn’t be profitable for the studios.
Although MGM has been remarkably silent about the issue, a spokesperson for the company issued a brief statement: “We do not comment on rumors. The film is not for sale. The film’s release has been postponed until April 2021 in order to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers.”
And with this, the gossip stopped. At the time of writing this text, neither Netflix nor Apple (nor any other service for that matter) have acquired the distribution rights for No Time to Die. The movie is, after yet another delay from its planned April 2021 release date, scheduled to release in cinemas on September 30, 2021 in the United Kingdom, and on October 8, 2021 in the United States.
Whatever happens, we’ll just have to wait and see. The pandemic makes things quite uncertain and it remains to be seen whether MGM is going to tolerate the losses created by the constant delays if the pandemic continues to cause issues in the world of cinema.