“No Time to Die,” the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, debuted to $56 million at the domestic box office, a result that fell somewhat short of expectations and signals that even one of the most storied brands in film history is still being forced to contend with a moviegoing landscape that has been dramatically altered by the pandemic.
Heading into the weekend, “No Time to Die” was projected to make $60 million to $70 million in its first three days of release. Though not a disaster, the film’s final weekend total was expected to be higher because it received positive reviews and represented Daniel Craig’s final outing as the stylish secret agent.
For some movies, especially during a pandemic, an opening weekend of $56 million would be cause for great jubilation. But “No Time to Die” is no ordinary film. It carries a massive $250 million production budget, to say nothing of the more than $100 million marketing spend. Add in the tens of millions it cost to delay “No Time to Die,” which was supposed to premiere in April of 2020 before the pandemic altered those plans, and box office experts estimate that “No Time to Die” would need to make at least $800 million at the global box office to make money exclusively in its theatrical window. For Bond, the franchise has numerous marketing partners and ancillary tie-ins, with Rolex, Aston Martin and more, that could help cushion potential losses.
Bond movies have traditionally made the bulk of its money overseas, and “No Time to Die” is not an exception. The film has been successful at the international box office, where it has already made an impressive $145 million.
The more muted results for “No Time to Die” are attributable to several factors, including hesitation among older audiences to return to the movies and its lengthy two-hour-and-45-minute runtime, which limited the number of screenings per day. It’s also the first Hollywood tentpole with real competition at the box office. Sony’s comic book sequel “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” opened last weekend and has continued to pull in crowds, which may have cannibalized ticket sales for Bond. In its second weekend in theaters, the “Venom” follow-up has generated another $32 million, a tally that’s more than many pandemic-era releases have made in their entire theatrical run.
More to come…
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