Exclusive: how MGM kept the No Time To Die title hidden

No Time To Die
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It looks like MGM registered the title of the new James Bond film a year before it was announced – and still managed to keep it a secret.

Part and parcel of a movie’s promotional campaign in the modern day – particularly a franchise movie – is the reveal of the title. In the earlier days of the internet, studios tended to give said title away when they went and registered domain names that tended to give the game away. Then they registered lots of fake names at the same time to try and hide the fact.

Similar tactics are still at work today, and we’ve done quite a bit of digging to find out just how MGM managed to keep the title of the 25th James Bond movie, No Time To Die. The reveal was done on 20th August 2019, with the leading internet speculation incorrectly guessing Shatterhand. But as it turned out, the actual title was registered as far back as 2nd August 2018 – over a year before we all learned what it was.

At that point of registration, the title may not have been fully decided on, but it was clearly an option. Yet nobody guessed it, or saw it.

It’s not surprising that nobody noticed though. For on that same day, MGM registered the potential names of lots of projects, not just the new Bond movie. It just happened to hide the new 007 name in some sort of plain sight.

In all, the studio registered 6,642 potential names of movies on that day,. It sounds like it pretty much emptied its development cupboard onto the US Copyright Office, registering projects such as – honestly – Vikings Go Pumping, Bionic Shark, Aches And Snakes, How To Ice Skate, Tramplers and Allelujah Vera Cruz. Some of those are existing films that it was re-registering the copyright for, so there was some necessary admin in the midst  of it all. Yet the fact that it was all done on the same day proved a smart idea.

Quite how many of the 6,000+ names were possible further MGM projects and which were intended to hide the Bond options is unknown. But the tactic worked. The title of the 25th James Bond film was hidden in public record for 12 months.

No Time To Time arrives in April 2020. No idea as to the status of Vikings Go Pumping (which is genuinely a project from 1987) but rest assured we’ll keep you posted on both.

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