Spy Movie News – July 27, 2021

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Here’s our July 27, 2021, Spy Movie News with news on Black Widow, Mission: Impossible 7, No Time To Die, Argylle, and IB 71, Daniel Craig, and more.

BLACK WIDOW

We have a spoiler discussion on Black Widow at the end of the audio podcast of this Spy Movie News.  We won’t print it in this article so if you want the spoiler, click here to get to the podcast

Did Disney’s decision to stream Black Widow hurt theaters?

There have been many articles written both when Disney announced that Black Widow would release in the theater and on Disney+ Premiere Access on the same day.   The theater industry didn’t like it at the time of the announcement and has taken further, louder umbrage now that the movie has been out for a few weeks.  To top it off, in-theater second-weekend numbers were down 67% versus opening weekend numbers.

We’ll focus on the post-release buzz in our discussion.

The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) put out a press release that started with this:

Black Widow’s excellent reviews, positive word of mouth, and strong previews and opening day total ($13.2 million/$39.5 million) led to a surprising 41% second day drop, a weaker than expected opening weekend, and a stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues. Why did such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie underperform?

It’s an interesting question and most of their press release blames Disney’s decision to release Black Widow simultaneously on Disney+ Premiere Access and in the theater.

They also blame piracy which is more easily achieved with a streaming release vs. a theater-only initial release. The numbers do point to very high piracy with this movie. In fact, according to Torrent Freak, Black Widow is the most pirated movie of the pandemic era.

We understand NATO’s argument and agree that some of their points appear valid.  However, there are a few flaws in the argument.  First, the press release doesn’t address the impact of  COVID on theater-goers.   It is highly likely that opening numbers were largely made up of die-hard MCU fans that wanted to be sure they saw the movie in the theater right when it was released.  More casual fans may have been worried about the upsurge in COVID numbers and decided to wait or stream the movie.

Second, In the press release, NATO points out that F9 had a theater-first release and didn’t stream on release. F9’s theatrical release numbers were strong.   However, NATO didn’t point out that there was also a 67% drop in second-weekend revenue for F9 even though it was only released in theaters.

Our third point is, Black Widow was a different type of MCU movie than its Avengers predecessors.  Possibly, some MCU fans wanted to see a more Avenger’s-like approach to the movie.  Word of mouth would have told them that it isn’t an Avenger’s style movie so they may have stayed home.

And finally, is it possible MCU fans are just getting weary of all the content?   We’ve talked in the past about how MCU will overtake James Bond in terms of the number of movies released in its lifetime.  In the 13 years since the release of Iron Man, MCU has released 24 movies.  Eon Productions has released 24 James Bond movies since 1962’s release of Dr. No.  Yes, Eon will release, hopefully, No Time To Die with the upcoming September and October 2021 release dates.  But MCU will pass them up with three more releases planned in 2021, after Black Widow.  Plus MCU has four movies lined up for release in 2022 and they are releasing content for television as well.  Maybe MCU fans are just exhausted.

It appears Disney had what for them was likely considered a very successful launch of Black Widow.  Distribution is changing and the theater owners are in for some change as part of these changes.  It seems that all of the movie companies are fiddling with their models to find the most money-making approach.  That means for the production company, not necessarily the movie theater.  We’ll have to keep watching to see how things flush out.  For us here at Spy Movie News, we will still go to spy movies in the theater as long as that is an option.   We believe it is a better viewing experience.

 

JAMES BOND

Happy 60th Anniversary Eon Productions

Sixty years ago, Eon Productions was founded.  They celebrated their anniversary on July 6th.  Their first movie, Dr. No will hit its 60th anniversary on October 5, 2022.  Happy Anniversary, Eon.

Bringing Back Leiter

It’s been 13 years since we’ve seen Felix Leiter in a new James Bond movie.  Fortunately, No Time To Die fixes that for us Leiter fans.

In an article on DigitalSpy.com, Jeffrey Wright makes the following comment:

“The surprise for me was to not be called in the previous two!” he joked. “But it gives more weight to Felix’s appearances if we don’t see him too often.”

We are glad to see Felix back, especially with Wright helming the role.  We also like where he says the Bond/Leiter relationship is:

“We wanted to establish what is at the core of this relationship between [Leiter and Bond], which is this brotherhood,” he explained.

It’s stuff like this that keeps up our desire to finally see this movie

In that same article is the following quote from James Bond co-writer ramps up the desire to see what they’ve done:

“So it’s intriguing when you come back, and he’s not really an agent in this one, and how you deal with that. Despite wanting to relax and fish and hang out in bars, if trouble comes knocking, he can’t help himself.”

We can’t wait for the release of No Time To Die.

Daniel Craig James Bond Arc

According to this article on CinemaBlend.com  –  Barbara Broccoli confirms it is Daniel Craig’s last outing and that “It will tie into everything he’s done before.”

They report that in the same interview, Michael G, Wilson said likened the entirety of the Daniel Craig films to a “miniseries within the series.”

Léa Seydoux has predicted that some tears may be shed in the process.

We’re going to see a lot of emotions and an emotional development on Bond’s part – new stuff. . . cant wait.

Hmmmm  – we wonder more – but only for a couple more months!

No Time to Die opens in the UK September 30th and in the US October 8th!

In a similar article on ScreenRant.com they say, “No Time to Die will pick up from the events of Spectre after Bond finds out that his adoptive brother is behind the international criminal syndicate out to get him.”

Why Daniel Craig Came Back for No Time To Die

In a recent article on Independent.co.uk by Jacob Stolworthy, Daniel Craig explains why he came back for one more move, No Time To Die!

In the article, Craig says that he just didn’t feel he was physically capable – and he was done.   But after two years, he was approached again by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson – and Craig said during these discussions he came up with an idea of what the next movie could be – “a direct conclusion to the events seen in his first Bond film, Casino Royale (2006).”

“Something to do with Vesper [Eva Green’s character], and Spectre, and something that was connected, in a way.’ It started to formulate. And I thought, ‘Here we go.’”

So Daniel is back as we know – No Time To Die is coming soon!  Really, it is!

Bookmakers Say Regé-Jean Page Now In The Lead To Play Bond

Well looking forward from the Daniel Craig era for James Bond, according to an article on MovieWeb.com, Regé-Jean Page has taken over the lead from Tom Hardy as the bettor’s favorite to be the next actor to play James Bond.   Although it means nothing, in reality, it is fun to speculate.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 7

COVID kept Angela Bassett from reprising her role as Ericka Logan

We’ve talked about the impact of COVID on Mission: Impossible 7 and 8.   It appears that the virus has also had an impact on what characters would return and what actors would be available.

An article on Cinemablend.com says that Angela Bassett won’t return as Erika Sloane in M: I 7. Bassett’s Sloane had replaced Alec Baldwin’s character, Alan Hunley from Mission: Impossible – Fallout in the role of CIA Director.  There is no official word if she will appear in Mission: Impossible 8.

The article says that COVID was responsible for Ms. Bassett’s absence from the movie.  But, we don’t know if it was a scheduling conflict that popped up due to the slowdown from the pandemic or if it was other issues, like a script change prompted by COVID.   We know that Nicholas Hoult was supposed to play one of the bad guys in Mission: Impossible 7 and he had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict.

Ilsa Faust Is Back With An Eyepatch?

Christopher McQuarrie posted a new black and white picture on Instagram to keep the drumbeat going for Mission: Impossible 7.  This time it is a closeup of Rebecca Ferguson and she appears to have an eyepatch ABOVE her eye, not covering it. Ferguson played Ilsa Faust in the last 2 Mission: Impossible movies.   What’s the reason for the eyepatch? An article on CinemaBlend.com speculates that Ilsa may have either injured her eye or the eyepatch is used for honing her long-range weaponry skill.  In any case, it is an intriguing photo and makes us think.  You can see the photo in that same article.

UPCOMING SPY MOVIES

Red Notice Finally Has A Release date

Ok, we’ve been talking about Red Notice for quite some time now. This is the Netflix movie starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds.    In our last Spy Movie News, we mentioned that Dwayne Johnson had tweeted “#Holidays2021” at the end of his post about the movie. At the time we asked: which holiday?  Well, we now have the answer.  Both Reynolds and Johnson have released social media posts declaring November 12, 2021, as the movie’s release date.

Dwayne Johnsons’ tweet says:

@Netflix’s biggest movie ever #REDNOTICE premieres in your living rooms around the globe on NOV 12.

FBI’s top profiler.

World’s most wanted art thief.

And the greatest conman the world has never seen…

There are three key items to note in this short tweet.  The first is the release date of November 12, 2021. The end of the year is looking up to be an exciting time for spy movie fans.

The second thing to note is the “premieres in your living room”. Again, there has been no official announcement of any theatrical releases.   Dwayne Johnson’s post implies an internet, Netflix, release only.

And finally, we look at the words “around the globe”.  Everyone will be able to see it on Netflix around the world on November 12, 2021.  This movie, unlike many movies, will not have a staggered release schedule.  We applaud this decision.  We’ve talked about the difficulties that social media brings in keeping things secret until the audience has a chance to see the movie.  No Time To Die has a 10-day gap between when its release cycle starts in Belgium to when the last 6 countries get to see it.  That stinks for fans in those 6 countries.  This Netflix decision shows they are looking out for the fan by releasing globally on November 12.   We wish all the studios would follow suit.

Argylle

Matthew Vaughan who produced and directed the first two Kings Man movies and the upcoming The King’s Man movie will be bringing his spy movie prowess to the upcoming movie Argylle. And he’s assembled a star-studded cast: Henry Cavil, John Cena, Bryan Cranston, Bryce Dallas Howard, Samuel L. Jackson, Catherine O’Hara, and Sam Rockwell.

Argylle is based on an upcoming spy novel with the same name and is expected to be the first in a series of novels and movies.   Vaughan is still expected to be involved with the Kings Man series going forward.

To quote Vaughan from an article on Variety.com,

“When I read this early draft manuscript I felt it was the most incredible and original spy franchise since Ian Fleming’s books of the ’50s,” said Vaughan. “This is going to reinvent the spy genre.”

Given that the same article says that the novel and book “will follow the globe-trotting adventures of a super-spy named Argylle across the U.S., London and other exotic locations.”  we here at Spy Movie News are scratching our heads trying to figure out how this will “reinvent the spy genre”.  That basic explanation sounds like every Bond, Mission: Impossible, Bourne, and Austin Powers movie plot.

It should be noted that another series of books will be the basis of the upcoming The Gray Man which we’ve mentioned in earlier Spy Movie News newscasts.  Like Argylle, they are hoping to turn that into a series of movies.  It looks like spy movies are here to stay and we love it.  If these franchises can release every 2-3 years it should ramp up the pressure to get James Bond movies out more quickly too.

Vidyut Jammwal To Star In & Produce Espionage Thriller IB 71

Set before the Indo-Pakistani war, Jammwal will play an intelligence officer in a story about how Indian intelligence agencies outwitted the Pakistani establishment and gave the Indian armed forces the required advantage they needed to face a two-front war in an upcoming espionage movie, IB 71.

The King’s Man

The new trailer for The King’s Man looks at the origins of the Kingsman organization – it is a nice trailer you can find on YouTube.  THE KING’S MAN Trailer 4 (2021) Kingsman 3

Director Matthew Vaughan says “This movie really is an origin story,” “This is the foundation of the Kingsman franchise.”  So, this should be a good movie to try to put the first two in perspective.  We can’t wait until it releases on December 22, 2021.

The Movie Formerly Known As Five Eyes Gets A Release Date

The Guy Ritchie, Jason Statham spy movie finally gets a release date.  It will debut on January 21, 2022.  We’ve talked about this movie in numerous Spy Movie News episodes so we’re happy to see a release date announced.   Now if they’d only give it a title so we can stop all this “formerly known as Five Eyes” nonsense.   Guy, we want to talk about your movie.  So give us a name, please.

INDUSTRY NEWS

Happy 97th Birthday Eva Marie Saint

It’s hard to believe, but Eve Marie Saint just celebrated her 97th birthday on July 4th.  We spy movie fans remember her fantastic performance in the Hitchcock thriller North By Northwest.

IN MEMORIAM

Richard Donner (1930-2021)

We’re sad to report the passing of Richard Donner.  Although probably best known for his direction of Superman, The Goonies, and Lethal Weapon, Donner’s work in television certainly has influenced spy movies.  Some of his tv credits include The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, and The FBI.   An article on Donner that appears on The Spy Command says that he was Sean Connery’s first choice to direct Never Say Never Again but passed because he didn’t like the script.

One other James Bond twist for Donner, Guy Hamilton did not direct The Spy Who Loved Me as he was signed to direct Superman.  That didn’t work out and Richard Donner ended up directing Superman.

Again, we have a Black Widow spoiler at the end of the audio podcast of this article.  You can click here to get to that podcast. 

So, that’s a wrap of our latest Spy Movie News for July 27, 2021.  Please Subscribe to our show, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies right now through your favorite podcast app and on YouTube as well!  Tell a friend about our show, give us a five-star rating, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too!