Fan websites want release of No Time to Die put back to summer as Disney cancels streaming service launch event
Mark Sweney– The Guardian
A woman with a face mask passes a poster for the new James Bond movie No Time to Die in Bangkok. Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images
James Bond fans have called for the global release of No Time to Die to be delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The global premiere of the film, Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007, is set for the Royal Albert Hall on 31 March ahead of an international release at the beginning of April.
The founders of two of the most popular fan sites – M16 Confidential and The James Bond Dossier – have written an open letter to the film’s producers asking for it to be delayed until summer citing public health concerns.
“It is by no means easy to say this: the release of No Time to Die should be postponed,” says the open letter to EON, MGM and Universal. “It is time to put public health above marketing release schedules and the cost of cancelling publicity events. It’s just a movie.”
Publicity tours have already been cancelled in China, South Korea and Japan, and Hong Kong has delayed the release of the film until 30 April.
“Hundreds of fans and celebrities from around the world will be flying to the UK to attend,” said the co-writers of the letter, James Page and David Leigh. “The Royal Albert Hall capacity is above the 5,000 limit that affected countries are banning for public gatherings. Just one person, who may not even show symptoms, could infect the rest of the audience. This is not the type of publicity anyone wants.”
The letter argues that as the coronavirus spreads fans will stay away from movie theatres. “The situation by late March and early April will not be conducive to the box office,” it says. “[Waiting] another few months will not damage the quality of the film and only help the box office for Daniel Craig’s final hurrah.”
Disney’s plan to kick off its entry into the European streaming wars with a glitzy event to promote Disney+ has been left in tatters after the company cancelled over coronavirus fears.
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The entertainment firm had planned a star-studded private event in west London on Thursday, with hundreds due to attend from across Europe to unveil the service before its consumer launch on 24 March.
“Due to a number of media attendee cancellations and increasing concerns at the prospect of travelling internationally at this time, we have decided to cancel our Disney+ launch events scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday,” the company said.
On Tuesday, Disney announced a deal with Sky to make its new streaming service available to millions of UK households. Disney+ is to be integrated into the Sky Q box, to be followed by Sky’s Now TV streaming service in the coming months. Disney+ will also be available as a standalone app.