James Bond film No Time To Die delayed for third time

The release of the next James Bond film has been delayed for a third time because of the coronavirus pandemic.

No Time To Die had already been pushed back twice, and will now debut globally on 8 October, an announcement on the film's website said.

It had originally been due to hit screens in April 2020.

The film is the 25th instalment in the Bond franchise, and marks Daniel Craig's final appearance as British secret service agent 007.

It also features Lea Seydoux and Rami Malek.

The delay will come as a further blow to cinemas that have been forced to shut for months at a time because of lockdowns.

Earlier this week, leading film-makers including Danny Boyle and Sir Steve McQueen wrote to the UK Government, calling for financial support for cinema chains because "UK cinema stands on the edge of an abyss".

Cineworld said in October, when No Time To Die was pushed back for the second time, that delays to big budget releases meant the industry was "unviable".

Bond's latest move sparked a flurry of other delays to major releases. Sony has pushed back Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Peter Rabbit 2, Jared Leto's Morbius, Tom Holland's Uncharted and Cinderella, which will star singer Camila Cabello; while Universal has moved Tom Hanks' Bios from April to November.

The UK Cinema Association said the decision to postpone No Time To Die again, "while clearly disappointing, is at the same time not surprising given the current situation around Covid-19 in the UK as well as the US and other major film territories".

The postponement of Daniel Craig's swansong and other films "underlines the need for ongoing support for the UK cinema sector", the trade body's chief executive Phil Clapp said.

The association is calling on the government to provide "direct funding" to chains, which represent 80% of ticket sales.

One of the major chains, Vue, said the delay was "understandable", and that the continuing attempts to release the film in cinemas "is further testament to our shared belief in a bright future for the big screen".