The producers behind the James Bond movies have officially decided that spring 2020 is "No Time to Die." The 25th James Bond movie, the last to star Daniel Craig as 007, has been rescheduled for a November 25, 2020 theatrical release in the United States and the original April 10 date has been cancelled.
Fears of the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, had already canceled the movie's Chinese premiere in Beijing, and the cast will no longer visit Asia to promote the film.
Interestingly, James Page (co-founder of MI6 and MI6 Confidential magazine) and David Leigh (founder of the James Bond Dossier) seem most concerned that the threat of infection will keep moviegoers away from theaters and have a negative impact on box office results.
"China and Japan have closed theatres for weeks. The Chinese box office in January and February 2019 combined to $1.5b. The same period this year has netted just $3.9m -- a 99.7% drop. Of the countries with large public gatherings banned or restricted, their combined 'SPECTRE' box-office was $313m, or 38% of the global haul," they wrote.
Of course, if you make your living by writing about 007, a flop movie is going to have a negative impact on your business, and who really knows when the series will return or whether the next James Bond actor will be as popular as Craig?
At this stage, it's impossible to predict the long-term impact of the disease. The movie business in China has already taken a massive hit, and there's talk that Japanese pro baseball teams will play games in empty stadiums as a precaution. Here in the USA, it's impossible to find Lysol or hand sanitizer on grocery store shelves even as the nation is divided as to whether this whole coronavirus thing is a hoax.
The darkest predictions project a $5 billion hit to the motion picture business through reduced box office and cancelled or delayed production. That’s a lot of jobs and could potentially reduce the number of movies made in the next few years as the business absorbs the hit.
Will the coronavirus scare affect your decision to see the James Bond movie in a theater? Are you staying home and eating shelf-stable foods while watching Netflix or have you kept up your normal drinking, dining and entertainment routines?
One thing's for sure: Bond himself would never allow rumors of a Chinese virus to keep him from his usual routines at the bar, the gaming tables and in the bedroom. He's busy and has no time to die. How about the rest of us?