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Apple and Netflix discussed acquiring 'Bond' movie for streaming

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer held discussions with Apple and Netflix about taking its new James Bond film directly to streaming, according to people familiar with the situation, but the studio says it's committed to a theatrical release.

[LOS ANGELES] Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer held discussions with Apple and Netflix about taking its new James Bond film directly to streaming, according to people familiar with the situation, but the studio says it's committed to a theatrical release.

The film, No Time to Die, could fetch hundreds of millions of dollars in a potential streaming sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. MGM declined to comment on any talks, but said the film "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 said.

Netflix and Apple declined to comment. Amazon Studios, another shopper for big-budget entertainment for its streaming service, said Friday that it's not currently in talks to acquire the Bond film.

The MGM feature was originally scheduled to hit theatres in April 2020, but it was delayed until November after the Covid-19 pandemic forced theatres around the world to shut down. Even though cinemas have begun to reopen, consumers have been slow to return, and studios have been reluctant to release their biggest pictures. Earlier this month, No Time to Die was pushed back again until April 2021.

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Nabbing the rights to No Time to Die would have been a major coup for a streaming service and could have helped entice subscribers looking to watch the latest Bond movie. The Daniel Craig film, which cost about US$250 million to produce, would be the most notable movie to switch to streaming due to the pandemic, though other films have taken a similar route.

Horror film Antebellum launched on premium home video in September, while Mulan debuted on Disney+ with a US$30 charge. Apple also landed the movie Greyhound with Tom Hanks due to the pandemic. It debuted in July.

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