The 25th James Bond installment — fueled by older adults — came in on the low end of expectations in North America but should enjoy a long run based on word-of-mouth and strong holds overseas.
No Time to Die reported for duty at the North American box office with an estimated opening of $56 million as Hollywood attempts to recover from the COVID-19 crisis and lure older adults back to theaters.
The James Bond event pic — starring Daniel Craig in his final turn as 007 — scored the fifth-best domestic opening of the pandemic era and had no trouble coming in No. 1 for the weekend ahead of Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which earned $32 million in its second outing after opening to a pandemic-best $90 million last weekend.
Heading into the weekend, MGM and EON Productions’ No Time to Die had hoped to cross $60 million in its domestic launch based on tracking and advance ticket sales.
The movie’s opening underscores the ongoing challenges facing the box office recovery as studios begin to release adult-skewing movies that were delayed because of the pandemic. No Time to Die was pushed back three times due to COVID.
While superhero movies such as Venom feast on younger consumers, the Bond series has always been fueled in large part by moviegoers 35 and older, a demo that’s been more reluctant to return to cinemas throughout to the pandemic. Older women in particular are nervous.
No Time to Die succeeded in convincing certain adults to show up for the first since the pandemic struck, but moviegoing for this quadrant still hasn’t hit pre-pandemic levels.
The Bond pic skewed male (64 percent), while 57 percent of ticket buyers were over the age of 35, including 36 percent over 45 years old. As a way of comparison, only 9 percent of ticket buyers going to see Venom: Let There Be Carnage on that film’s opening weekend were 45 and older.
Another factor: No Time to Die — which cost $250 million to $300 million to produce before a mega-marketing spend — runs a hefty two hours and 43 minutes, reducing showtimes and making it the longest in the franchise.
Bond movies have never sported huge openings and, instead, rely on strong multiples. The films continue to be bigger internationally.
Overseas, No Time to Die saw its early total climb to $250 million-plus over the weekend for a worldwide cume north of $300 million. It earned another $89.5 million over the weekend from 66 markets for a foreign tally of $257.4 million — that is without China — and $313.3 million worldwide. In many regions it held well or was even up, although COVID is complicating matters in key markets including South Korea and Australia, where there is a widespread lockdown.
Among new markets, France turned in a huge $10.1 million, on par with Skyfall and a pandemic-era best.
No Time to Die has been embraced by critics and earned an A- CinemaScore from audiences in North America, the same as the last Bond film, 2015’s Spectre. In 2012, Skyfall — which opened to a record $88.4 million domestically — earned an A CinemaScore. (Spectre started off with $70 million.)
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 unfurled in 4,407 theaters, the widest footprint of any Bond pic.
Venom 2 came in No. 2. The pic, which fell 65 percent in its sophomore outing, finished Sunday with a stellar 10-day domestic total of $141.7 million. Sony made the film in association with Marvel Studios and Tencent.
Overseas, Venom 2 opened in earnest, pulling in $24.8 million in 13 markets for an early international total of $43.9 million and $185.6 million globally. The pic did especially well in Latin America with $20 million, a pandemic-era best.
Disney and Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Three Rings crossed the $400 million mark worldwide, including $212.5 million domestically and $189.1 million overseas. Sometime on Monday, Disney will become the first studio to cross $2 billion in 2021 global ticket sales.
Dune crossed the $100 million milestone overseas, where it opened several weeks ago ahead of its Oct. 22 domestic debut. The sci-fi epic finished Sunday with a foreign tally of $117.1 million for Warner Bros. and Legendary.
In North America, MGM’s The Addams Family 2 placed third with $10 million for a 10-day domestic total of $31.1 million, followed by Shang-Chi ($4.2 million) and Warner Bros.’ The Many Saints of Newark with just $1.5 million for a 10-day cume of $7.4 million.