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With the new Bond film delayed until October over COVID, it’s more bad news for cinemas

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By Lina Saigol

The release of the new James Bond film “No Time to Die” has been delayed for the third time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing a further blow to cinemas that have been forced to close their doors for months because of lockdowns.

Daniel Craig will make his final outing as Secret Service Agent 007 on Oct. 8, according to the official James Bond Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR -5.80% account.

The movie, from MGM and Comcast’s /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA +0.37% Universal Pictures, was originally slated for release in April 2020, but was pushed back to November before being changed to April 2021 as it became clear that cinemas weren’t going to open soon.

“No Time to Die” joins many other postponements for big-budget Hollywood debuts, as box offices look to protect their earnings amid the pandemic, which has hit hard the big chains, including AMC Entertainment /zigman2/quotes/200235402/composite AMC -6.41% , Cineworld /zigman2/quotes/206525056/delayed UK:CINE -2.31% and Cinemark Holdings /zigman2/quotes/200040530/composite CNK -1.28% .

Read: Regal owner Cineworld to shut all theater screens, putting 45,000 jobs at risk

Sony /zigman2/quotes/208567357/composite SNE -2.56% revealed on Friday that it is pushing back some of its movies that had already been delayed, including “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” and “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” which has been shifted from June to November. “Cinderella,” which stars singer Camila Cabello, will now arrive on cinema screens in July.

And Warner Bros., the world’s second-largest movie studio, announced earlier this month that it was moving the release of “The Sopranos” prequel “Many Saints Of Newark” from Mar. 12. to Sept. 24, as large swaths of the U.S. remain in lockdown.

Read: Why cinema will survive the coronavirus pandemic

Earlier this week, leading filmmakers, including Bond producer Barbara Broccoli, Danny Boyle and Steve McQueen wrote to the U.K. government, calling for more financial support for the large cinema chains that have been left reeling during the pandemic.

“U.K. cinema stands on the edge of an abyss. We urgently need targeted funding support to ensure that future generations can enjoy the magic of cinema,” the letter stated.

Read: Want to Be a Hollywood Player? Covid and Streaming Have Changed All the Rules

Some Hollywood studios like Walt Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -2.20% have taken the decision to bypass theatrical releases and move straight to streaming . The release of Pixar’s “Soul” and Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan” both premiered last year on the Disney+ streaming service for about $30.

Warner Bros., owned by AT&T’s WarnerMedia /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T +0.70% , announced in December 2020 that it would stream all 17 of its movies set for 2021 release, including “Matrix 4” and “Dune,” on its HBO Max service at the same time that they hit theaters.

“After considering all available options and the projected state of moviegoing throughout 2021, we came to the conclusion that this was the best way for WarnerMedia’s motion picture business to navigate the next 12 months,” the company said in a statement at the time.

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