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Waiting game continues as No Time to Die again goes awry

Jamaica should be a main draw when it is finally released

By Ricky Browne

The latest James Bond spy flick No Time to Die has again had its opening plans go awry, with its third delay announced on Friday. Now the movie is set to be released on October 8, 2021 we are told — but don’t hold your breath.

It is the latest plot twist in a movie which is yet to have its premiere, some two years after its filming.

The movie was filmed partially in Jamaica in 2019, with its arrival hotly debated and awaited.

Daniel Craig in No Time to Die

Originally, No Time to Die, was have its premiere in April earlier last year, but COVID-19 had better plans, as worldwide lockdowns made it a mission impossible for even the bravest fans to go to a cinema.

Then the date was postponed to November 2020, and James Bond fans prepared themselves for waiting just that bit longer to see Daniel Craig act for perhaps the last time as 007.

But then in October 2020, the premiere was postponed once more – as the pandemic refused to release its hold. April, we were told, would likely be the new date.

FINGERS CROSSED

Daniel Craig with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show

Speaking recently on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon about the pandemic, Craig said: “This thing is just bigger than all of us.

“We just want people to go and see this movie in the right way, in a safe way.

“Cinemas all around the world are closed at the moment. We want to release the movie at the same time all around the world, and this isn’t the right time.”

Daniel Craig takes a stroll on a Bahamian beach in Casino Royal

“Fingers crossed, April second is going to be the date,” he said.

Well, Craig can uncross his fingers now.

With the pandemic now well into its second wave, the franchise announced on Friday that the movie has been postponed yet again – this time to October.

Since his Fallon interview the world has entered a second and more intense wave, with almost 100,000 mortalities in the UK, 400,000 in the United States, and more than two million deaths worldwide.

No Time to Die seems like a rather unfortunate name under these circumstances.

I DON’T WANT TO WAIT IN VAIN

Will the movie be worth the wait? Can it possibly live up to expectations?

With two million potential viewers now dead, the movie has lost a lot of potential fans — and revenue.

True, many of the people who have died have been elderly – in their 80s. And while many of them may have been fans of the first James Bond movie – Dr No – in 1963, it is unlikely that they would have gone to a cinema to see this one.

Sean and Ursulla take a stroll in Dr No

But if we assume that at least 25 percent of these Covid-19 victims across the world would have paid an average of £5 to see Daniel Craig in his (presumed) last outing as 007, then we can say that the franchise has lost about £2.5 million – surely nothing that the franchise can’t handle.

The last James Bond movie was Spectre in 2015. The movie made US$880.7 million worldwide, with US$135.5 million of that in the UK market and US$200 million in North America. It made some US$70 million on its opening weekend alone.

Daniel Craig in Spectre. Who wants snow at a time like this?

So, it’s quite likely that No Time to Die won’t be overly hit by its loss of audience.

In fact, as the anticipation for the movie increases – No Time to Die is becoming like a barometer on the state of the world’s health. Once the movie is finally released, it will be like an official starting gun to say that we can go back to some sort of normality. And provided people feel safe going back to the cinema, demand could be huge.

Daniel Craig, who has previously said he didn’t want to play the role any longer, has acted in a total of five 007 films. The first was Casino Royal in 2006, followed by Quantum of Solace in 2008. Next was Skyfall in 2012 and Spectre in 2015.

A promotional shot of Craig outside the GoldenEye cottage. Photo: Island Outpost

MIND THE GAP

This six-year wait between Bond movies is the longest ever or at least it could be, if it misses its new November slot. The longest gap so far is between Timothy Dalton’s Licence to Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s GoldenEye — July 14, 1989 to November 24, 1995 — a gap of six years, four months and 10 days.

But all indications are that No Time to Die can beat that record.

The wait between Skyfall and Spectre seemed long enough. Three years. How many younger fans will want to see a movie that they have little connection to?

Oh for the early days, when the gap between Dr No and From Russia with Love was just one year and six days.

FROM GOLDENEYE WITH LOVE

The first James Bond books were written by British novelist Ian Fleming at his home GoldenEye overlooking the Caribbean Sea in Oracabessa, Jamaica. Later, a James Bond starring Pierce Brosnan and set largely in Cuba, would be named after Fleming’s home — GoldenEye.

Oh — James Bond fans with a bit of cash to spare, can rent the original GoldenEye cottage in Jamaica if they want to feel some of the inspiration from where James Bond was first created. Alternately, they can rent one of the newer homes that sit right on the water’s edge, like the one that Daniel Craig was filmed in for this movie.

Who can forget Ursuala Andress as Honey Ryder in that famous white bikini?

The first film, Dr No in 1962 starring Sir Sean Connery, was filmed largely in Jamaica. That film kicked off the series of movies as bringing not just thrills, spills and kills with beautiful male and female stars, but as one where the exotic locations would be almost as vital to the experience.

Ian Fleming at his corner desk at GoldenEye, Jamaica

JAMAICAN BEAUTY

Back in 1962, the year that Jamaica got its independence — when Dr No premiered and James Bond first made it onto the screen – much of the world was kind of sad and drab and grey, just starting to recover from the effects of World War II that had ended in 1945.

It was the glamour and beauty and the vivid colours of Jamaica that helped to draw people in, and allow them to take their minds off the cold, bleak winter around them. And the beauty of Jamaica and its women was only proved further when the following year Carol Joan Crawford, Miss Jamaica, won the Miss World competition in London.

Carol Joan Crawford was Jamaica’s first Miss World the year after Dr No premiered

Coincidentally, the current Miss World, Toni-Ann Singh, is also from Jamaica. Like US Vice President Kamala Harris, she has black and Indian roots. Singh won in 2019, but thanks to Covid-19 she remains on the throne in 2021. And the way things are going, she may well still be sitting on that throne when No Time to Die is eventually released – the longest-ever reigning Miss World.

Toni-Ann Singh, the current Miss World, is from Jamaica

Sean Connery is still seen by many as the best James Bond ever. Handsome and ruthless. And who could resist Ursula Andress in her famous white bikini, stepping out of the waves on a white sand Jamaican beach. Or a party in Port Royal, with Red Stripe beer at the bar and Byron Lee and the Dragonaires playing ska and calypso?

“Jamaica jump up! Jump up!” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sra0jR37zA&ab_channel=Literally_Rokem

No jumping up going on here — too much Red Stripe on the Dr No set

To make No Time to Die an iconic movie, the franchise may need to emphasise those Jamaican roots. The movie, at least some of the opening sequence, has been filmed in Jamaica, and harks back in some ways to the first film.

But it’s Jamaica’s exotic beauty, and its sun-kissed people and lifestyle, that people will be yearning for right now.

So it’s been sad to see the promos for the film appear to de-emphasise the Jamaican aspects of the movie, and instead concentrate on the high-octane drama taking place in more commonly seen locations mainly in Europe – the UK, Italy and Norway.

Craig contemplates Norway without snow in No Time to Die

No offence —  but who wants to see Norway and its snow, when they are celebrating life and surviving the worst pandemic of the 21st century?

People now want escapism — just as they did in 1962. So it may be that the Jamaican aspects of the movie will be a main drawing card for potential viewers.

Craig escapes to Jamaica

In fact it is Jamaica that Bond escapes to in his so-called retirement. And it’s Jamaica that Ian Fleming escaped to – his beach cottage GoldenEye – to get away from the grey skies of England and to create the James Bond version of escapism.

So why wouldn’t the viewers want to do the same at a time like this?

This is no time to die, if you want to see the next James Bond movie. But will it ever come to a cinema near you? Will it really premier in November 2021?  

On second thoughts, maybe Daniel Craig should now start crossing his fingers once more.

Are we nearly there yet? Daniel Craig waits for his release at Golden Eye on the set of No Time to Die

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