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Bond and the big screen: Is this the end of a decades-long love affair?

From the shock success of Dr No to the profitable peak of Skyfall, we take a look at 007’s relationship with the cinema and ask: can he survive without the big screen?

Did you see Tenet? Quite a few people did. What’s more, they went to the cinema to see it. Tickets were torn, popcorn was popped and minds were blown throughout the multiplexes — with film buffs welcomed back into the theatrical fold for the first time since the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

And Christopher Nolan, the man behind Tenet’s twists and time-bending turns, was chuffed with the turnout. Not because of box office returns — the film is actually expected to lose millions during its theatrical run — but rather because he’d managed to tempt people out of their homes and back to the cinema.

The British director was determined to release his latest film at the cinema. In fact, at a press conference for Tenet, Nolan even admitted that it was a memorable trip to the cinema that put him on the movie-making path in the first place — and still fuels his film career to this day. The memory comes from 1977. Nolan was 7-years-old. The film was The Spy Who Loved Me.

“I went with my dad to the cinema to see it,” Nolan said of Roger Moore’s third 007 adventure. “What I remember, and what I’ve tried to retain from that experience is the feeling of possibility, that you could jump through that screen and go anywhere in the world and see the most amazing things.

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“I think I’ve spent a lot of my career trying to get back to that feeling,” Nolan added, “and trying to give that feeling to audiences.”

That means we’ve got cinematic Bond to thank for Nolan’s entire back catalogue. From Inception to Interstellar, The Prestige to The Dark Knight, seeing the man from MI6 on the big screen has led to countless adventures and action flicks we wouldn’t otherwise have had. Which makes it all the more sad that the relationship may be coming to an end.

What’s that? No more Bond in the cinema? It may sound ridiculous, but current events seem to be conspiring against the superspy. No Time To Die, the 25th film in Eon’s James Bond franchise, was the first major tentpole picture to shift its release date this year. Originally slated to hit cinemas in April, it was moved to November — and has subsequently been pushed even further down the line, to April 2021.

After the second postponement, Britain’s second-largest cinema chain, Cineworld, closed its doors — citing 007’s delay as the “last straw” in the fight against lockdown restrictions. Picturehouse, owned by Cineworld, will also close all cinemas. Odeon is scaling back by 25%. Vue will close many branches for three days a week. Only Showcase Cinemas is carrying on, for now, as usual.

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