The Greatest James Bond Villain is…Covid-19

Bolfeld, Silva, The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond has come across many formidable villains throughout his 59 year career. The 007 agent often comes out on top when being faced against these antagonists after being broken mentally and physically. However this time Bond may have met his match in No Time To Die as his greatest villain is not a physical person, but rather a virus in Covid-19.

Delays, delays, delays… with an original release date of April 2020, No Time To Die was the first major film to be delayed due to Covid-19. No Time to Die was then delayed again to November 2020, April 2021 and now its world premiere is finally set for October 2021. Covid-19 has disrupted Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond with all these delays causing MGM to avoid striking a deal with streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, and there is a good reason why.

The first poster for No Time To Die dropped way back in October 2019 with the first trailer coming a few months later in December 2019. This means that No Time To Die has been marketed for almost two years! A delayed and long marketing run means that the marketing costs for the film increases for each delay. No Time To Die has reportedly spent around $900 million in its budget, mostly from marketing due to these delays, yes you read that right – $900 million! If we look at the box office numbers for Daniel Craig’s past four films, Casino Royale grossed $594.4 million, Quantum of Solace grossed $591.7 million, Skyfall grossed an impressive $1.11 billion and Spectre grossed $879.6 million worldwide. Now what’s the difference between the past four films and No Time To Die? You guessed it, Covid-19. Daniel Craig’ past four films have been released in a non-Covid world where cinema attendance and the box office was at its strongest, only once did his films gross more than $900 million and that was Skyfall with Spectre just falling short of that number. No Time To Die has a gargantuan task of trying to gross $900 million, considering the highest grossing Hollywood film of 2021 is Fast and Furious 9 with $696.8 million. Now Fast and Furious 9 was able to achieve this amount due to the increase in the number of theatres being open at the time. Both Fast and Furious 9 and Black Widow enjoyed impressive weekend openings, and if we look at Skyfall and Spectre they both grossed $88 and $70 million respectively. Now it may not reach those heights but a $50-60 million opening weekend for No Time To Die would be a fantastic achievement in Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond. The resurgence of Covid-19 via the Delta Variant has caused countries to re-enter lockdowns and cinemas close their doors. In Australia and New Zealand alone there are plans for No Time To Die to be delayed within their respective countries. Now both Australia and New Zealand may not be known for their box office markets but major countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom already have attendance restrictions on their cinemas which will inevitably hamper the box office potential of No Time To Die.

If No Time To Die keeps its October 8 release window it can breathe easy as there is no major competition in its sight, James Bond can breathe a sigh of relief. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be opening in early September and the next major blockbuster won’t be until November with Eternals. Also, what the hell is happening with Venom 2: Let there be Carnage (??) with multiple reports advising that it is delayed to 2022 and multiple reports advising that it will be coming out this year- perhaps this means that No Time To Die has the entire of October to itself and really be the king of the box office throughout October. 

Let’s not beat around the bush, No Time To Die has a huge task on its hands thanks to Covid-19. Not only does it have a huge target to achieve in order to turn profit but it must also capture the interest of fans once again as the last James Bond film released six years ago. James Bond has overcome many villains since 1962, lets see if he can defeat Covid-19 in what will be his biggest battle yet.

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