Can “James Bond: No Time To Die” skip cinemas and release directly on OTT?

Can “James Bond: No Time To Die” skip cinemas and release directly on OTT?
Source: MGM

Initially slated to release last Thanksgiving, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) decided to postpone the release of “James Bond: No Time To Die” after COVID-19 cases started to increase rapidly across China and Europe. Since then, the film has been postponing its release in theaters constantly. With the COVID-19 situation not seeming to get any better, the financial losses MGM have faced have resulted in the studio looking for a potential “Over The Top” (OTT) release.

Currently, no such deal has been finalized, but it was rumored that Apple, Netflix and other streaming services have explored the opportunity of acquiring the upcoming Bond film, now expected to release in 2021.

Despite these rumors, an MGM representative told Variety: “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.”

Reports show that MGM have lost between US$30-50 million (HK$233-388 million) due to the postponements, and they are looking for a potential US$600 million (HK$4.65 billion) deal if “No Time To Die” skips cinemas. The pricey tag was deemed too rich for two of the free-spending streaming platforms. Insiders have said that if a deal of this size were to take place, it would be led exclusively by Kevin Ulrich, the chairman and CEO of MGM’s majority owner Anchorage Capital Group.

There is no clarity on whether producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who have control over the entire series via their company Eon, would sign off on such a deal. Universal Pictures, who have foreign distribution rights for the upcoming Bond film, would need to be reimbursed by the studio for any expenses they would have incurred if MGM went ahead with a digital release. However, since no deal has yet been made and the film is slated to release next year, Bond fans will still be able to enjoy Daniel Craig’s last film as the iconic character in theaters next year.

Recently, the news of Sean Connery’s death shocked many fans, as the actor was best known for his portrayal of the Bond character in the first seven films. “James Bond: No Time To Die” is expected to serve a tribute to Connery when it finally releases in theaters in 2021.

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