How audiences are reacting to 2020's first blockbuster disruption....

There will be far more tragic consequences of the spread of COVID-19 than audiences having to wait another seven months to see the latest James Bond title. However, from the point of view of affiliate brands for the British spy juggernaut and exhibitors, the news of the delay of 'No Time to Die' likely feels both shocking and inevitable, with cinemas and CMO’s likely feeling the pinch of the latest Bond being put into quarantine until the end of 2020.

Moved from a global release date of April 10th to November 25th (with the UK release being moved two weeks earlier to November 12th), the impact of the decision made by MGM, Universal and the Bond producers is potentially vast and unpredictable. Firstly, it means the beginning of 2020’s blockbuster season has been pushed back to May, with no guarantee the slated releases in that month of Marvel’s 'Black Widow' and 'Fast & Furious 9' will remain in place.

If indeed the postponement of 'No Time to Die' is a trend-setter for major releases to be benched until there is greater certainty over the coronavirus, it could also mean a highly-congested end of year release cycle with not only the year’s biggest titles going head-to-head simultaneously but will also have to compete with a bitterly contested and attention grabbing US election.

Bond25 Sentiment Analysis

No Mr Bond, I expect you to be delayed....

Analysis of social media conversation reveals a strong negative reaction from global audiences. Whilst an expected reaction, this response suggests that there was considerable audience anticipation and excitement for 'No Time To Die' that will now need to be reinvigorated later in 2020.

Analysis of emotions around the delay confirms sadness and disappointment as the primary response, alongside some anger and expected fear that the virus could disrupt such a prominent cultural event.

What is also telling here is that despite this, we tracked only a very small percentage of the audience who were surprised about this delay - suggesting that there is a growing acceptance of the disruption COVID-19 is creating.

Film Release Conversation

28 Weeks Later...

This of course leads to the question - which other releases will be impacted by the virus in the coming months - and how might audiences respond to this?

Deeper analysis of the conversation around the 'No Time To Die' delay revealed that there was visible concern for other releases which are due out in the near future, with Disney's 'Mulan' and 'Black Window' seeing the largest share here. Other tentpole summer releases 'Fast & Furious 9' and 'Wonder Woman 1984' also saw some share, and our feeling is that the former may also well be at risk of further delays due to its huge popularity in China.

Bondvirus 4 001

No Time To Buy?

To get a sense of how this delay might impact some of the movies brand partnership we analysed the audience who were responding to the delay to understand which of these brands they had the most affinity with.

Whilst it is likely disruptive to their campaigns it is clear that the long running James Bond partnerships with Aston Martin and Omega are clearly still front of mind for the most emotionally engaged of the Bond audience and therefore it is possible both brands may be able to dynamically re-configure their campaigns to face this new challenge.

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David Murphy

David Murphy

EntSight Researcher