Let's Talk: Will MGM Sell 'No Time To Die' To Streaming Services?



Here we are again to talk about whether big budget movies are going to streaming services. At those times, I was mainly speculating about Godzilla vs Kong being brought to HBO Max. Back then it didn't seem plausible enough because it was a big budget movie like Wonder Woman 1984 and Mulan. However, we have seen Mulan get moved to Disney Plus, we witnessed Tenet bomb in the box office, and AMC Theaters exclaimed they may go bankrupt by the end of 2020. Now in a recent article from Variety, there is a rumor about No Time To Die possibly being sold to streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV for $600 million.


In the article it reads as followed:


Apple, Netflix and other streaming services explored the possibility of acquiring “No Time to Die,” the upcoming James Bond movie that was originally slated to debut last April. The film’s release has been postponed multiple times, with the Daniel Craig vehicle moving back to November before being pushed into 2021 as the number of coronavirus cases kept growing.


MGM, the studio behind the film, reportedly lost between $30 million to $50 million due to the delays, insiders said. Bloomberg first reported the discussions, which have been the topic du jour in Hollywood this week. Other studios, such as Paramount and Sony, have raked in tens of millions by selling movies like “Greyhound,” “Coming 2 America” and “Without Remorse” to streaming services while the exhibition sector continues to struggle during the pandemic.


“We do not comment on rumors. The film is not for sale. The film’s release has been postponed until April 2021 in order to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers,” an MGM spokesperson told Variety.


However, multiple insiders at rival studios and companies said that a possible Bond sale was explored overtly, and believe that MGM was at least open to the possibility of unloading their crown jewel for a princely sum. The studio was said to be looking for a deal of roughly $600 million — a price tag that was deemed too rich for two of the free-spending streaming services. A sale of this magnitude would be led exclusively by Kevin Ulrich, the chairman and CEO of MGM’s majority owner Anchorage Capital Group, insiders said.


It’s unclear if producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who exert control of the series through their company Eon, would sign off on the deal. Universal Pictures, which has foreign distribution rights to “No Time to Die,” would have to be made whole in any possible sale and reimbursed for any expenses the studio incurred. That the parties involved would explore a streaming sale is notable, given that the film was the first tentpole to move release dates before coronavirus was upgraded to a global pandemic — making it an early indicator that even the iconic spy and ladies man would not save us from the viral event.


Moving “No Time to Die” to a streaming service poses some logistical challenges. The film costs more than $250 million to produce and has lined up several promotional partnerships to help defray those costs — including Land Rover, Omega watches and Heineken. Those companies may have been expecting the film to hit theaters and might not be thrilled with a streaming-only bow. “Coming 2 America’s” sale to Amazon, for instance, was contingent on making sure that its promotional partners, McDonald’s and Crown Royal, were on board with the change in plans.

According to an MGM spokesperson they have no plans in selling the movie. That is as much of a confirmation as we are going to get from a movie studio. Yet, the article goes further in saying the idea of selling the new James Bond film has been explored according to insiders from rivaling studios. This brings up a few questions.

  1. Who are these insiders?

  2. How do they know that MGM has explored selling No Time To Die to streaming services?

  3. Why does this article smell like click-bait from We Got This Covered?

The answers to the questions are fairly simple. These insiders Variety cited sounds like how We Got This Covered cites their sources. The claims are anonymous and anonymous sources are usually suspicious. Even at the end of the article Variety states that moving a movie to a streaming service would be challenging as promotional partnerships for the movie have to be on board with it as well and they can very well say no to MGM. So any claims made by these "insiders" should be taken with a grain of salt as all rumors should be.


Also, the citation from Variety is coming from Bloomberg, who are not known to be very reliable as a source. Even in the article from Bloomberg, they tried asking Netflix and Apple and refused to comment while Amazon basically told them that there are no talks of acquisition at this time.


The article does report that MGM has reported losing $30 million to $50 million due to the delays. This part is true as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, but MGM's $30 million to $50 million loss was reported back in March when MGM announced No Time To Die was pushed back to November 20th. This is not to say that the studio isn't hurting for money because they are hurting just as much as other studios, it is just not an up-to-date financial report from MGM.


So the answer to my question, "Will MGM Sell No Time To Die To Streaming Services?" is no, MGM is not looking to sell their movie to a streaming service. For now, they are standing by with a theatrical release.


Is it always possible for it to happen? I say that is up for speculation and I sure do love to speculate. Like I said at the beginning paragraph we have seen Mulan get moved to Disney Plus.


When Disney announced they were moving Mulan to Disney Plus, my thought was that this was the movie that studios were going to wait and see if it will do well on a streaming service. However, what I failed to look at were the controversies surrounding Mulan. How I was looking at it was, "If the movie is made by Disney then it is going to be an instant hit." That didn't happen. Instead, the movie got controversial when one of the movie's film locations was at Xinjiang, a province in China that had internment camps for Muslims where they are tortured. Due to this controversy, Mulan received negative criticisms from the viewers. Currently, the movie took a hard hit financially at the international box-office (currently sitting at around $62 million) and Disney has not made any financial reports for the movie on Disney Plus.


With Mulan no longer the shining light of hope for big budget movies to go straight to streaming, chances for a movie like No Time To Die or Godzilla vs Kong to go to a streaming service are still unlikely. However, if we are to learn one thing from Mulan it is never say never. For half of the year, Disney had no plans to bring Mulan over to Disney Plus until August 4th when they announced the cancelation of the movie's theatrical release. So while other movie studios are still standing by with releasing their movies theatrically they could unexpectedly change their minds.


Also, with Wonder Woman 1984 being the only blockbuster movie releasing in December I predict it will take a massive loss just like Tenet, another movie owned by Warner Bros. As we have seen in September, Tenet was the only new movie that was released when theaters began to reopen. Without any other new blockbuster movies releasing, the movie theaters lost money all because they relied too heavily on Tenet on bringing people back to the theaters. I believe while Wonder Woman 1984 may bring in a little bit bigger of an audience Warner Bros. is going to see another disappointing release.



On top of that, AMC Theaters, the #1 largest movie theater chain in the United States, has reported that they may go bankrupt by the end of 2020. Cineworld/Regal Theaters, the #2 largest chain in the United States, has temporarily shut down shortly after No Time To Die was pushed back to April 2021. Regal also reported they will reopen for Wonder Woman 1984, but they don't see them fully reopen until sometime in 2021 when the COVID-19 pandemic has settled down. In October 21, Governor Cuomo gave the okay to reopen the movie theaters allowing Regal to reopen at eleven locations in the state of New York. This only leaves the third largest chain, CineMark, which has reported they are staying open and not closing any of their theaters after Cineworld/Regal announced their closure.


In another report from Variety back on October 5th, they report:


Shares of Cineworld plunged more than 40% on Monday, and the theater chain wasn’t alone in seeing its stock tumble. AMC Cinemas’ saw its share price drop roughly 11% as markets opened in the U.S. while other exhibitors also suffered from an industry-wide selloff. Cinemark plunged nearly 13%, Marcus Corporation was down roughly 8%, National Cinemedia dropped more than 9%, and Imax Corporation saw its share slide more than 3%. Several of these companies, such as Cineworld and AMC, are heavily leveraged, which has already made investors concerned about how they will be able to endure months without steady box office returns while servicing their debts.


The movie theaters are not making any money. They lost money more than they gained. Not even Tenet (which was hyped up to be 2020's spy movie rivaling No Time To Die) was able to bring people back to the movie theaters. There is a very strong possibility that the move theater experience could actually die all because of the pandemic. These theaters may either not be able to recover for a very long time or be so scared to reopen that the theaters goes out of business.


To conclude, while MGM is not planning to sell No Time To Die to streaming services these studios could change their mind at any time due to difficulties with movie theaters staying open or poor timing of the movie's release. If the movie theaters can't make money in the box-office, then why should studios continue wasting time, money, and patience when they can release their movies on a streaming service?


What are your thoughts on the possibility of big budget movies being moved to streaming services? Do you think some will be moved or do you think they will stay with their release dates? Leave a comment in the comments section. Make sure to follow me on my Facebook, Twitter, Minds, and Parler pages to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.

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