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MGM and Eon Productions’ No Time to Die grossed a promising $6.3 million in Thursday night previews as it starts opening at the North American box office. The earnings also include a smattering of special Imax screenings Wednesday night.
That is the highest preview number of any James Bond film, not adjusted for inflation. Spectre earned $5.3 million in Thursday midnight shows in 2015, while Skyfall took in $4.6 million in 2012.
The release of No Time to Die — starring Daniel Craig in his fifth and final turn as 007 — was delayed over 18 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tracking suggests that the tentpole will clear $60 million in its domestic launch; more bullish analysts believe the number could be closer to $70 million.
To make franchise history, No Time to Die would have to best Skyfall ($88.4 million). Spectre is currently second-best ($70 million).
However, the Bond franchise traditionally has been buoyed by older adults, a demo that’s been far more reluctant to return to theaters because of COVID-19. Additionally, No Time to Die runs a hefty two hours and 43 minutes, reducing showtimes and making it the longest entry in the pantheon.
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 for the 25th Bond installment. 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.
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