Rumors are swirling that Apple TV+ might scoop up No Time to Die, the James Bond film currently languishing in box office limbo. The movie — the 25th 007 flick, and the last to star Daniel Craig as the British spy — has seen its release date slip repeatedly as many cinemas remain closed due to COVID-19.
Now, MGM Studios reportedly might pull the trigger on a streaming debut rather than waiting out the pandemic. If Apple TV+ added No Time to Die to its growing library, it would be the streaming service’s biggest coup yet.
The rumors come from several sources, including Binged, which wrote Friday:
The entertainment industry is rife with hushed whispers that the new, long-delayed James Bond film, ‘No Time To Die’ is being wooed by streaming platforms for insane amounts of money. Top streamers with deep pockets have proposed to buy the much awaited movie, and are offering monstrous sums of money to host the film on their respective platforms. Netflix and Apple TV Plus are two streaming platforms that are said to be at the forefront of the offers. Both have truckloads of moolah to spend, and both would give an arm and a leg to grab the highly anticipated film, if it means getting ahead in the streaming wars.
Longtime movie critic and screenwriter Drew McWeeny backed up the high-dollar rumor on Twitter.
“I can’t get my head around the idea that we may well see James Bond debut on Apple TV+ or Netflix,” he wrote. “The numbers I’ve been hearing the last few days are I N S A N E…”
iMore, citing an unnamed source, reported that “MGM has indeed offered the film to streaming platforms and that Apple is understood to be a frontrunner in the bidding war.”
Bloomberg confirmed that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. “held discussions with Apple Inc. and Netflix Inc. about taking its new James Bond film directly to streaming,” again citing anonymous sources. However, MGM did not comment on the talks. The studio maintained that No Time to Die “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 representative told Bloomberg.
Variety reported on Saturday that MGM put an astonishing $600 million price tag on No Time to Die:
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.
Will Apple TV+ save No Time to Die?
If the rumor proves true, and Apple TV+ wins the bidding war, it would make a major splash. And it would fit with Apple execs’ strategy of acquiring high-profile movies for their streaming service’s steadily growing library.
Apple does not release Apple TV+ subscriber numbers. However, it’s safe to say Apple TV+ lags behind Netflix and newer upstart Disney+ on this front.
Snatching up highly anticipated films is a proven winner for attracting eyeballs amid the streaming wars. And Apple isn’t afraid to splash the cash. The company reportedly brought in loads of viewers this summer when Apple TV+ rescued Tom Hanks World War II film Greyhound from coronavirus-induced box office disaster.
And Cupertino’s shopping spree looks set to continue, with Apple TV+ subscribers reaping the benefits. Today alone, Apple TV+ premiered two well-reviewed movies: Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks, which stars Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, and music documentary Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You.
Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Apple was in talks to buy MGM Studios, the studio behind the Bond films and other big franchises. Such a deal could bring a substantial boost to the Apple TV+ movie and TV library.
Note: We initially published this post on Oct. 23. We updated it to include information about the reported negotiations.