Netflix reportedly tried to purchase the rights to the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, to bring it straight to the streaming platform rather than release it in theaters. According to a Bloomberg report, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (MGM) held discussions with Netflix and Apple TV+ to consider selling No Time to Die this way due to the coronavirus pandemic. So far, the studio and the streamers have not confirmed that these talks took place.
Sources close to these negotiations said that No Time to Die would have gone for hundreds of millions of dollars — if MGM had gone through with the sale. In the end, however, the studio decided it could still make more money at the box office. No Time to Die was due to hit theaters in November, but it was delayed to April of 2021 at the last minute. An MGM representative told Bloomberg that the 007 movie "is not for sale."
"The film's release has been postponed until April 2021 in order to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers," they added. The only other thing MGM was willing to say on the subject was that it is "committed" to a theatrical release for the movie.
Meanwhile, Netflix and Apple both declined to comment on the story. There is no word on whether other streaming services were bidding on the movie, but Amazon Video confirmed that it is not in talks to acquire No Time to Die.
The movie was originally scheduled to be released in April of 2020 and was delayed to November during the coronavirus pandemic's first wave. When the time rolled around and things were not looking much better, MGM pushed the movie back to April. This decision sent shockwaves throughout the industry, even prompting Royal Cinemas to close down all its locations in the U.S. indefinitely.
Other movies have made the jump to streaming exclusives during the pandemic, with mixed success. Many have been released on digital stores like iTunes or Amazon Prime, with a considerable price for rental or purchase. Still, with nowhere to go, customers were happy to pay what they would have spent at the theaters to see these films.
No Time to Die cost about $250 million to produce and would likely be the biggest movie to go to streaming if this deal had gone through. At the time of this writing, it is still slated for theatrical release only in April.