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Maybe James Bond can save cinema after all.
The excitement around No Time To Die, which will be playing in roughly 50 foreign markets by Friday, appears to be translating into box office gold.
The 25th installment in the storied British spy franchise opened to an impressive $6.6 million in the U.K. and Ireland on Thursday as it begins rolling out in more than 50 markets overseas, pushing its two-day foreign total to a weighty $22 million.
No Time to Die opens in North America on Oct. 8, followed by China in late October.
In the U.K. and Ireland, the event pic scored the third-highest opening day of the storied franchise. Among recent installments, it came in 14 percent ahead of Spectre (which launched on a Monday) and 30 percent behind Skyfall, which launched on a Friday on its way to become the top-grossing Bond title of all time in the U.K. and across the world, not adjusted for inflation.
Additionally in the U.K., No Time To Die now holds the highest single-day gross in September, the highest single day of the pandemic and the highest single day since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opened in the holiday period of December 2019.
No Time To Die should easily surpass $26 million through Sunday in the U.K., a pandemic-era best. Overall internationally, it is expected to rake in anywhere from $80 million to $100 million, although predictions are tough because of the pandemic.
Germany opened to an outstanding $2.8 million on Thursday, the biggest opening day of the pandemic and the second-biggest of all time behind German film Fack Ju Goehte 2.
In South Korea, its Wednesday and Thursday gross is $1.3 million. In Demark, No Time to Die opened Thursday to $1 million. By Friday and Saturday, the tentpole will be playing in many European, Asian and South American markets.
MGM partnered with British-based EON Productions on the big-budget offering, whose release was delayed numerous times due to the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent theater closures. Universal is distributing the Bond installment in most major markets internationally.
No Time To Die amassed $6.2 million in the U.K. alone, where it is breaking records in receiving the widest release ever. It is playing in 772 cinemas, 25 more than the previous best, Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. The film is also Universal’s widest ever release in that territory.
With many cinemas welcoming guests first thing Thursday morning, more than 30,000 people attended midnight screenings and, according to Universal, 1,620,000 advance tickets were purchased for the opening four days, surpassing Spectre’s total advance bookings by over 12 percent and performing in line with Skyfall at the same time prerelease. Adding to the accolades, No Time to Die set the record for highest advance sales of all-time at the Everyman, Picturehouse and Curzon cinema chains.
The U.K. number is as a welcome relief for British exhibitors, with many having pinned their pandemic recovery hopes on Bond, traditionally a major event in U.K. cinemas anyway but this year coming with the added pressure of being seen as a test for future consumer confidence. Although the following weeks and months will indicate whether this test has been passed, operators so far appear delighted. As one cinema exec told THR: “We’re very, very happy.”
Oct. 1, 10 a.m. Updated with additional foreign grosses.
Oct. 1, 11:30 a.m. Updated with additional foreign grosses.
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