It’s been an instructive year, in terms of seeing the nuts and bolts that studios use to schedule films: Not just the overall fragility of the system—one little global pandemic, and the whole thing starts to shake?!—but also in how carefully various franchises try to keep out of each other’s way, and the lengths that studios will go not to get stomped by competing films at the box office.
Take the news, reported by The Wrap today, that Universal has apparently taken one look at MGM’s decision to move the next James Bond movie, No Time To Die, to April 2—the date previously reserved for the ninth Fast And Furious movie, F9, after it vacated its original summer 2020 release—and have given a prompt “No thank you” to the idea of direct competition with Daniel Craig’s superspy. F9 will now release two months later, on May 22, 2021—provided any movies are running in wide release by then.
It seems unlikely that Universal is directly worried about going head-to-head with Bond—2017's The Fate Of The Furious out-performed the last Bond movie, 2015's Spectre, pretty comfortably at the box office, blowing past the billion-dollar mark that Craig’s film didn’t manage to clear. The move might have more to do with Universal not screwing itself over at the international box office, since it’s handling the international distribution for No Time To Die.
In any case: This is all sand castles anyway, because no one making any of these decisions has any clue what’s going to go on with theaters over the next arbitrary span of time they pick. (Especially now that the just budget-clearing performance of Tenet has everyone extra spooked.) We’ll see you for pretty much this exact Newswire all over again in about 6 months.