MGM Considered Selling ‘No Time to Die’ to a Streaming Service
It should be quite evident by now that movie theaters, and the enormous blockbusters that fill them, are experiencing an upheaval not seen before in our lifetimes. There’s a lot of speculation that movie theaters could go extinct — but if that happened, what about the movies themselves? Eventually, the films designed for theaters, with enormous budgets and epic scale, could go away too. But right now Hollywood studios are sitting on literally a year’s worth of blockbusters that they haven't been able to release. Theaters or not, these movies will see the light of day somewhere, eventually — if the price is right.
Take, for example, the case of the latest James Bond adventure, No Time to Die. The film was shot in 2019 and was ready for release in April of this year when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Pushed back initially to November, it’s now headed to theaters in April of 2021. A franchise with decades of fan loyalty, massive special effects, and huge stars, it would be a major calling card for a streaming service in an era where competition for audiences is getting fiercer and fiercer, assuming that its distributor, MGM would want to (or, if its finances got bad enough, would need to) sell the rights).
In fact, Bloomberg reports that there have been “discussions” between MGM and several companies about selling No Time to Die. They say that both Apple and Netflix have talked with the company about acquiring the new Bond for a price somewhere in the “hundreds of millions” of dollars.
For now, MGM told Bloomberg they are not selling the film:
‘The film’s release has been postponed until April 2021 in order to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers,‘ an MGM representative said. Netflix and Apple declined to comment. Amazon Studios, another shopper for big-budget entertainment for its streaming service, said Friday that it’s not currently in talks to acquire the Bond film.
Thus far, the response to premium VOD movies at home seems mixed; Universal claimed Trolls World Tour became a hit at home in the early days of its pandemic. Disney never announced financial info for its home release of Mulan on Disney+ at a price of $30, but if it was a success you would have expected them to announce more movies using the same release plan — and thus far they haven’t. Still, the longer the delays go, the more Bond fans would likely pay to watch No Time to Die at home. Will MGM pull the trigger on a deal? For now at least, No Time to Die is still scheduled to open in theaters on April 2, 2021.
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