James Bond Fans Want No Time To Die Delayed Over Coronavirus Fears
Despite five years of waiting for No Time To Die, some James Bond fans want to delay the new film's release because of fears that gathering in cinemas would make the virus spread faster, and that an outbreak could affect its takings at the box office.
An open letter to Bond production companies Eon, MGM, and Universal, co-signed by James Page, co-founder of MI6 and MI6 Confidential magazine and David Leigh, founder of The James Bond Dossier, calls for the delay because of their concerns about "public health" and says a delay would "only help the box-office for Daniel Craig’s final hurrah".
"After enduring three delays in production already, it is by no means easy to say this: the release of No Time To Die should be postponed," says the letter, headlined "No Time For Indecision".
"With the Coronavirus [COVID-19] reaching pandemic status, it is time to put public health above marketing release schedules and the cost of canceling publicity events."
That's the opposite of what health secretary Matt Hancock has suggested ought to happen, however. Hancock told the BBC that the government "[does] not recommend the canceling of mass events" as things stand, and that the government's aim is "to have the minimum social and economic disruption, subject to keeping people safe". Nothing, though, is "off the table at this stage" including the cancellation of sporting events and city-wide lockdowns as practiced in China.
COVID-19 cases are expected to peak in the UK over the next few months, which would presumably mean that any delay would have to extend through most of the summer if it were brought in. The open letter, though, suggested that people would stay away from cinemas regardless of any government actions.
"There is a significant chance that cinemas will be closed, or their attendance severely reduced, by early April. Even if there are no legal restrictions on cinemas being open, to quote M in Skyfall: 'How safe do you feel?'
"Publicity tours for 007 in China, South Korea, and Japan have already been canceled. The release in Hong Kong was pushed to April 30th. These are sensible actions that should be applauded."
The letter goes on to imagine what might happen at the world premiere of No Time To Die in London on March 31.
"Hundreds of fans and celebrities from around the world will be flying to the UK to attend. The Royal Albert Hall capacity is above the 5,000 limit that affected countries are banning for public gatherings. Just one person, who may not even show symptoms, could infect the rest of the audience. This is not the type of publicity anyone wants.
"The U.K. and U.S. outbreaks are in their early stages, but if they follow the predictable pattern of other developed countries, the situation by late March and early April will not be conducive to the box office [profits].
"Delay the release of No Time To Die until the summer when experts expect the epidemics to have peaked and to be under control. It’s just a movie. The health and well-being of fans around the world, and their families, is more important. We have all waited over four years for this film. Another few months will not damage the quality of the film and only help the box office for Daniel Craig’s final hurrah."
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.