James Bond has been one of the most prolific and successful blockbuster franchises in the history of the cinematic art form. It has been a staple of big-budget event cinema for over half a century. Fans and mainstream audiences associate the character and his adventures with the big screen, and many have assumed that the newest film, No Time to Die, would make its bow in movie theaters whenever they reopen in full. However, it looks like that release strategy could be shifting.
Binged has reports of the new James Bond film being pursued by some of the biggest streaming platforms in the game, including Netflix and Apple TV+. Adding strength to this report is that MGM is allegedly feeling pressure to sell the rights for streaming soon as the theatrical exhibition market does not look like it is going to recuperate any time soon. Even prominent CEOs are admitting that the immediate future looks incredibly bleak for movie theaters, and 2021 might still prove to be a wasteland for the biggest exhibitors across the globe.
If the new James Bond film does end up relenting and heading to a streaming platform, it would be the first major blockbuster to really make that transition. While Disney had hoped that their streaming release of Mulan would be that film, the interest in it was clearly diminished and it looks like it was not the success they had hoped for. Granted, that particular blockbuster was tailor-made for a very specific international audience, but even they didn’t end up wanting it. Would No Time to Die be able to be the blockbuster that actually lights a fire under streaming viewers?
While there isn’t enough data to see if certain films are going to be able to make a sizable profit on streaming, it is clear that some have absolutely benefited from the release strategy. Is the recognizable nature and draw of a James Bond movie enough to get home viewers motivated to pay premium video-on-demand prices for early access, or are home audiences willing to wait until such movies become more easily available on streaming platforms without an additional rental fee? There just haven’t been enough sizable releases to gauge this, and consumers are still not used to the idea of blockbuster offerings being available through home rental distribution methods.
We are in a brand new age of media distribution and consumer expectation, and it has been speedily forced upon us due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Could a movie like James Bond’s No Time to Die make a relatively successful profit by being a day-and-date release on streaming and in available theatrical exhibition spaces? Or is its budget so massive that anything outside of a traditional theatrical release would doom it to failure? How much would MGM be asking for the exclusive streaming rights to a digital release? Would it be sizable enough to recoup a significant portion of the film’s budget?
All these questions and all we can do is wait and see what will happen with the newest James Bond film. If we hear any other crucial news about this release, we will let you know.