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The wait is over, in the U.K. at least.
No Time to Die — undoubtedly the most hotly anticipated 007 of all time given almost two years of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic — has finally landed in British cinemas.
Following Tuesday’s glittering world premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall (and simultaneous screenings in almost 60 venues around the world), Thursday — dubbed “Bond Day” — saw the 25th installment of the franchise release across cinemas in the U.K. (and Brazil, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands). The film already launched in Korea on Wednesday, immediately topping the box office, and will head over to the U.S. on Oct. 8.
But nowhere is the excitement more palpable than in the U.K., where Bond isn’t just part of the nation’s cultural fabric but where box office results have traditionally been among the franchise’s strongest. Opening on over 700 screens, the film has been welcomed with outstretched arms by a theatrical industry still in recovery mode following lockdowns.
“I think we’re going to look back on this movie as a watershed moment,” said Tim Richards, founder and CEO of the Vue International cinema chain, speaking at a special No Time to Die screening over three screens at Vue’s flagship West End venue. “This is the time when we actually get back to business, to pre-COVID levels of business.”
Richards — who described trying to keep his 21-year-old company afloat during the pandemic as like “going to war every day” — said the event was about offering thanks to those who helped save the operator, including its bankers, lawyers and advisors. Also among the guests were Terry Gilliam and British politician Sajid Javid, currently minister for health.
Shortly after the special screening, Vue West End was one of numerous cinemas opening its doors to fans at 0:01 a.m. on Thursday morning for No Time to Die‘s first public showings.
“Wishing all my fellow cinema bods a happy and successful Bond day,” tweeted Kevin Markwick, owner of the independent Uckfield Picture House in South East England. “We have all waited a long time for this. Revel in the full screenings and enjoy the unique buzz that running a busy cinema with happy punters gives us. It’s good to be back.”
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