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007 back after virus delay: ‘We’ve been expecting you, Mr. Bond...’

The latest James Bond movie gets its world premiere next week, nearly six years after the last film in the storied franchise and an 18-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The film’s release was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and three previous scheduled premieres were postoned. AFP
British royalty and pandemic heroes have been invited to London’s Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday to watch “No Time To Die,” the 25th instalment of the popular spy saga.

The film is expected to be Daniel Craig’s last appearance as 007. Three previously scheduled premieres—in March and November 2020, and this April— were all cancelled.

Craig and co-stars including Rami Malek and Lea Seydoux will join princes Charles and William on the red carpet at the glitzy screening, before the film hits UK cinemas two days later and releases globally October 8.

Healthcare workers and armed forces members will also be present, and have been invited to 10 other premieres across Britain, in recognition of their work combating COVID-19.

“We’re incredibly excited to be launching the film in a theatrical release,” franchise producer Barbara Broccoli said on the “No Time To Die: The Official James Bond Podcast” released this month.

“The film is a celebration of Bond – the 25th film and almost 60 years and, most importantly, Daniel Craig’s final outing. So we feel it’s a big event.”

Cinema operators, studios such as MGM—which owns the 007 movies—and distributor Universal Pictures are among those hoping the blockbuster release will help lure movie-goers back to auditoriums worldwide. 

Cinemas were closed for months during the pandemic in key markets such as Britain and the United States, forcing delays to releases and hitting finances hard.

MGM, bought by online shopping giant Amazon for nearly $9 billion earlier this year, spent a rumoured $250 million on the action-packed film.

The last Bond movie “Spectre” – released in late 2015 – set box office records for a 2D film in China, and grossed more than $880 million worldwide, according to movie industry magazines.

“It’s very important that people see this film in the cinemas – it was designed and filmed and produced to be in the cinemas, to be a cinema experience,” said fellow Bond producer Michael G. Wilson.

“We really held out against other alternatives like streaming.”

“No Time To Die” sees Bond drawn out of retirement in Jamaica by his old friend and CIA agent Felix Leiter.

He is asked to embark on a treacherous mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist, according to Universal.

Malek, who won a best actor Oscar for his depiction of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” plays his adversary Safin.

Lashana Lynch plays a new MI6 spy working alongside an ageing Bond, while Seydoux returns as Madeleine Swann, his love interest in “Spectre.” 

Topics: Daniel Craig , COVID-19 , James Bond , Rami Malek , Lea Seydoux
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