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The time has come for James Bond to assist in rescuing the U.S. box office.
No Time to Die will finally unfurl in more than 4,400 cinemas across the U.S. and Canada on Friday after being delayed over 18 months because of the pandemic. Accurate projections are almost impossible, considering moviegoing is still impacted by COVID-19.
Tracking suggests that MGM and EON’s tentpole will clear at least $60 million in its domestic launch; more bullish analysts believe the number could be closer to $70 million, if not higher, considering that Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage came in $25 million to $30 million ahead of expectations last weekend when opening to a pandemic-era best $90 million.
There are major contrasts between the two films.
The Bond franchise been buoyed by older adults, a demo that has been far more reluctant to return to theaters because of COVID-19. Only 9 percent of Venom 2‘s opening weekend audience was 45 and older, compared with 33 percent for the last Bond film, Spectre.
Additionally, No Time to Die runs a hefty two hours and 43 minutes, reducing showtimes and making it the longest entry in the pantheon.
Yet No Time to Die could easily outperform tracking. Last week, it started off overseas with a stellar $121 million from its first 54 international markets (that doesn’t include China, where it rolls out Oct. 29).
The nostalgia factor is running high, considering the 25th Bond installment marks Daniel Craig’s fifth and final turn as the storied British spy. And, as the box office shows signs of a recovery, No Time to Die is arguably the first all-audience tentpole that’s not a superhero movie to hit the big screen since COVID-19 forced theaters to shut down in late March of last year.
Directed by Cary Fukunaga, the event pic is being distributed domestically by United Artists Releasing and internationally by Universal. The cast also includes Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, along with franchise newcomers Rami Malek, Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch.
In North America, No Time to Die will be playing in 4,407 theaters as of Friday — the widest footprint of any Bond pic — following Thursday previews in select theaters and special Wednesday-night screenings in some Imax locations.
If No Time to Die opens to much more than $70 million, it could supplant 2015’s Spectre ($70.4 million) and become the second-top opener of the franchise, not adjusted for inflation. To become No. 1, it would need to best 2012’s Skyfall, the most successful 007 film of all time which started off with $88.4 million domestically.
Bond movies aren’t known for huge openings. After Skyfall and Spectre, the top five list includes 2006’s Quantum of Solace ($67.6 million), 2002’s Die Another Day and 2008’s Casino Royale. All starred Craig except for Die Another Day, which headlined Pierce Brosnan.
In early March 2020, No Time to Die became the first big-budget Hollywood tentpole to see its theatrical release delayed due to the pandemic (it was set to launch in cinemas in April of that year). It was subsequently delayed two more times.
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