James Bond movie No Time To Die delayed again by pandemic

The film's new debut date is Oct 8. PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) - Much-delayed James Bond movie, No Time To Die, was postponed again due to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday (Jan 21), with studio MGM confirming 007's next mission will not take place until October.

The release of the 25th instalment of the fictional spy saga has already been pushed back multiple times.

It was originally set for a London premiere last March before that was pushed back to November by the global spread of Covid-19.

With coronavirus still sweeping the globe and thousands of movie theatres shuttered again due to lockdowns, the film's next April 2, 2021 release date has now also been abandoned.

Its new debut date is Oct 8, according to an announcement on the James Bond website and Twitter feed.

The film, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, is expected to be actor Daniel Craig's last outing as the suave British spy after starring in four previous films.

It sees Bond drawn out of retirement in Jamaica by his old friend and Central Intelligence Agency agent Felix Leiter.

Rami Malek of Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) fame plays Bond's adversary Safin, while Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas and Ben Whishaw also star.

No Time To Die is just one of dozens of major Hollywood titles left in limbo by the pandemic, as studios weigh up whether to push back their release dates indefinitely or opt for online streaming releases that deprive them of vital box-office profits.

Produced at a rumoured cost of around US$250 million (S$331 million), the film's success is crucial for MGM, while Universal Pictures will distribute the film overseas.

The Bond franchise is one of the movie world's most lucrative, with Spectre (2015) raking in US$880 million at the box office worldwide, while Skyfall ( 2012) grossed more than US$1 billion globally.

The next closely-watched movie is Black Widow from Walt Disney's Marvel Studios, currently scheduled to debut in cinemas on May 7.

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