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James Bond hasn’t lost his charm at the box office.
No Time To Die — the release of which was delayed numerous times due to the COVID-19 pandemic — rocketed to $119.1 million from 54 markets in its foreign debut, an invigorating number that set numerous records and fuels hopes that moviegoing is resuming in earnest.
The 25th installment in the storied spy franchise is the first Hollywood title of the pandemic era to cross $100 million in its overseas launch without China. That wasn’t the only bright news of the weekend. In North America, Sony’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage posted a stunning launch three-day launch of $90 million.
No Time to Die, from MGM and Bond home EON Productions, opted to open in a raft of offshore territories a week ahead of its launch in North America on Oct. 8. Universal is handling the tentpole in most countries overseas, where the film scored the top grosses of the pandemic era in numerous territories.
In the U.K. and Ireland, No Time to Die earned $11.4 million on Saturday, the highest box office single day for any film in the series, as well as the highest single day of the pandemic era.
The film is expected to post the third-biggest weekend of the Bond franchise with $34.8 million, and the sixth-biggest for any film. It is receiving the widest release ever in the U.K., playing in 772 cinemas. It is also Universal’s widest ever release in that territory.
No Time to Die‘s early performance is a welcome relief for British exhibitors, with many pinning their pandemic recovery hopes on Bond, traditionally a major event in U.K. cinemas anyway, but this year with the added pressure of being seen as a test for future consumer confidence.
It smashed Imax records, including setting the best opening weekend for a Bond film in 24 countries, including Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy. And it was the best pandemic-era opening in 21 markets, including the U.K., Hong Kong, Austria, and Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway.
“This was a huge team effort by all. The filmmakers delivered an outstanding film and we are very proud to play a part in this result with MGM and EON,” Universal International’s distribution chief Veronika Kwan Vandenberg said, adding that Barbara Broccoli of EON has been a “huge supporter of the theatrical experience, and it’s very gratifying to see the film achieve such heights during the pandemic.”
No Time to Die is directed by Cary Fukunaga and marks Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as James Bond. The cast of the film also includes Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, along with Rami Malek, Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch.
007 isn’t the only title recharging the foreign box office.
Venom 2 also made headlines overseas this weekend when opening to a huge $13.8 million in Russia. It is Sony’s biggest launch of all-time in that market and the best of any film during the pandemic.
And, in its third outing, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune amassed another $13.7 million from 32 markets for to jump the $100 million mark internationally. It opens in North America later this month.
The biggest box office winner of the weekend, however, was in China, where the nationalistic epic The Battle at Lake Changji opened to $201.3 million.
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