Great Britain

No money to burn: how Bond crowdfunder could be the way forward

If Covid kills the cinema experience for good – a hypothetical that sounds less and less far-fetched by the day – then No Time to Die will forever be held up as a key co-conspirator. Although almost every other film set for release this year has been shunted off into the middle distance, there’s something about No Time to Die’s repositionings that seems to have drawn everyone’s wrath.

First it was booted away from a spring release. And then again from an autumn release, which is when Cineworld decided to board itself up. This week it was reported that, in an act of increasingly characteristic jumpiness, No Time to Die tried to hawk itself around the streaming platforms for the tidy sum of $600m. Even that failed. At this rate it would take a miracle for anyone to see it.

A miracle, that is – or a crowdfunder campaign.

And luckily that’s where we are now. Yesterday a GoFundMe page, started by a Coventry internet user known only as Team Bond, sprang into life. Its goal? To purchase the rights of No Time to Die from MGM so that we can all watch it by Christmas.

It’s a noble cause. After all, now that everybody knows how much MGM wanted Netflix to pay for it, the film has a solid market price. And that’s why the GoFundMe has a target of £607m.

Now you might be saying to yourself, “Hang on, didn’t MGM try to sell it for six hundred million dollars? And isn’t this crowdfunding campaign attempting to raise six hundred and seven million pounds?” And you’d be right. It looks like Team Bond, when putting the campaign together, forget to set the right currency. In which case, if it does meet its target, MGM will be walking away with (at the time of checking) around $781m. That’s $181m of easy breezy profit, all because someone in Coventry can’t tell the difference between dollars and pounds. Who could possibly say no to that?

And, really, if you think about it, is £607m really such an outlandish figure? After all, 2012’s Skyfall made a total of $1,109bn around the world. That’s almost double the crowdfunder total. Realistically, if everyone who watched Skyfall throws in the price of half a cinema ticket, we could be watching James Bond fling himself off a succession of bridges within a month.

Or maybe we could nationalise Bond. There are 67 million people in the UK. If we all threw in a tenner each, we could buy No Time to Die, watch it for free on BBC One on Christmas Day and maybe make some money selling it abroad. And yes, sure, some people have seen their livelihoods ravaged by Covid to the extent that throwing away 10 precious pounds on the sequel to Spectre seems like an act of total madness. But those people should ask themselves this: which is better, being able to feed your family or watching Daniel Craig punch Rami Malek in the face a bunch of times?

In fact, as the film industry struggles to find a way forward during this time of impossible crisis, perhaps this campaign offers a hint at a way out. If we can crowdfund the release of a James Bond movie, then who knows what could be next? Black Widow? Top Gun 2? The second Minions movie? Truly, the world would be our oyster.

Seriously, this could be the start of something special. No longer would we simply be an audience. We’d be patrons of the movie industry. Our money would have more weight behind it than ever before. In time we could even decide which films could be made. We could bring David Lynch back to the cinema. We could get Tarantino’s Star Trek movie off the ground. We could will a third Minions movie into being. A move like this would democratise film-making forever. So thank you, Team Bond. Thank you for showing us the future.

At the time of writing, the campaign has raised £15.

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