Honestly, there won´t be any cinema release this year that will bring in the numbers any big budget film needs to be successful. Unless there will be a cure or something that can prevent people from getting severely sick, most audiences will stay away from cinemas IF these are reopened at all, until 2021.
So, every postponed release date actually is just a way to delay the ultimate decision what to do with these movies.
Of course, every one of these could be held back until the crisis is over and usual attendance is back. Every unreleased movie from 2020 will be new in 2021 or 2022 as well, these things do not have an expiration date. And the depicted behavior, if anachronistic, will even have that extra kick of being a nice time capsule from simpler times.
But the release of any big budget movie is also tied to a number of factors which might accelerate any release strategy. MGM, for example, needs to have money coming in from Bond this year. Maybe, with the whole world on pause, the banks will begrudgingly have to wait for all the loans to be paid back, and maybe that could allow for a delay into 2021.
However, as a recent article in THR stated, many studios will see this crisis as a perfect excuse to shrink the window between cinema release and home video release even further. For years the idea was floated that every release could be simultaneously released, for a premium price of course, as a combination of cinema ticket and dvd/streaming. I would not be surprised if that’s exactly what the studios are now aiming for.
It could also mean a return to the kind of platform release of earlier times when movies (not just the arthouse fare) would play at first in a few selected big city cinemas and then, having built word of mouth, go to the rest of the country.
However, this might not be feasible in our age of streaming when everything can be made available with one click on your remote. Especially not since these big blockbuster films are so damn costly that they need the first huge weekend with across the country saturation in every cinema.
In other words: to roll out Bond just in a few big cities and then wait for the grosses to trickle in during the next six months is just taking too long. And in the meantime piracy will have made the movie available on the internet anyway.
So, IMO, it only makes sense to go the streaming route immediately. I don’t want to spoil anyone’s optimism but it just is not realistic to think that in November cinemas around the world or even in the biggest markets will be open again in big enough numbers to give MGM the needed box office.
In contrast, releasing NTTD in November on-demand for a raised price (think 30 or 40 dollars) would probably work out much better for higher returns. Or MGM will give NTTD to Apple so they can boost their streaming model (which still lags behind Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime), and rumor has it Apple already had started to negotiate for the exclusive streaming rights for previous Bond films.
In any event, I do not expect NTTD to open in November, nor to have TOP GUN 2 go out in the Christmas season.
Unless the meds arrive and make all of this speculation unnecessary. Which I would absolutely HOPE.