Ajay Chowdhury.

Fans rue Bond delay as Covid ‘villian’ puts paid to 007 plan

By Amit Roy

AJAY CHOWDHURY, the UK’s leading au­thority on James Bond movies, has ex­pressed his sadness that No Time to Die is having to be postponed yet again.

“No Time to Screen,” quipped one tabloid newspaper as the film’s release date was postponed from November 11 this year to April 2, 2021.

This is a full year behind an earlier release date of April 2020.

The James Bond film’s makers said in a statement last week: “MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, an­nounced that the release of No Time to Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until April 2, 2021 in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.

“‘We understand the de­lay will be disappointing to our fans, but we now look forward to sharing No Time to Die next year.”

Chowdhury, spokesman for the James Bond International Fan Club and author of Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films, told Eastern Eye: “Just when we thought that Christ­mas was coming, it seems for Bond fans it has been delayed.”

Daniel Craig in No Time to Die.

He pointed out that October 5 was “Global James Bond Day – the date when Dr No first premiered in London at the London Pavilion cinema in 1962”.

He added that the postponement of No Time To Die “is a blow to not only 007 lovers, but also to the cinema industry itself.

“This comes in the week where Billie Eilish’s title song was released with a new video. With publicity gearing up a second time for the movie, it seems the current Covid crisis has done what most Bond villains have failed to do: put paid to 007. For now.”

He pointed out that “a Bond film is a huge commercial juggernaut and as the advertising partners were launching their 007 related mer­chandise, this could be more than an inconven­ience. “No Time To Die would have been the first major franchise event to open during the Covid crisis. Cinemas were banking on Bond.”

Daniel Craig in No Time to Die.

Chowdhury gave some details about the film itself: “Daniel Craig’s fifth, and seemingly final, Bond film has been tantalisingly teased with a high octane entry. Cary Fukanaga’s 007 directo­rial debut takes us on a global odyssey from Ja­maica to Cuba, from London to Norway, from Italy to the Faroe Islands and beyond.

“As usual the adventure is fully loaded with action on the ocean, on land and sea involving a mysterious laboratory facility, a sinewy hair-raising motorbike chase, a panoramic drive on an impossible ocean bridge, a rough cross country chase involving the new Land Rover Defender and stylish Bondian action involving a plethora of Aston Martins from the classic DB5 to the brand new Valhalla.”

“When No Time To Die eventually reaches cinemas worldwide, it will be the culmination of a much cursed release. The film was originally slated to come out in October 2019, then Febru­ary 14, 2020, then April 2020, then November 2020. Covid-19 might still be with us next year, but maybe audiences will get some relief.

“Cinema, in part, depends upon Bond. It is five years since his last screen appearance, the longest gap between Bond’s films.”

The postponement of the Bond movie has forced the Cineworld chain to consider tempo­rarily suspending operations at all of its 536 Regal theatres in the US and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK with effect from Thursday (8).

Cineworld said: “We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our UK and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached.”

It is feared 5,500 jobs in the UK are at risk.

Many Cineworld multiplexes set aside a couple of screens only for showing Bollywood and Tamil films, but this market has also been badly affected by the pandemic.