No Time to Die scored $56 million in the box office opening weekend, despite being delayed over a year and Daniel Craig’s last role as the title character
The long-anticipated new James Bond movie, No Time To Die, made a disappointing $56million in its opening weekend in the US – sparking speculation vaccine and mask mandates may have put 007 fans off going to their local movie theater.
No Time To Die had been predicted to make up to $60m in the US in its opening weekend, with its disappointing total falling far short of the $80m post-COVID record set by Venom 2 last week.
By comparison, No Time To Die made $35m during its opening weekend in the United Kingdom after being released there on September 30.
Great Britain is home to 66.7 million people, compared to the 329.5 million who live in the US, meaning that the movie could easily have crashed through the $170m barrier in its opening weekend had the same proportion of Americans had gone to see it as Brits.
Vaccine rules have also been speculated as a cause for the lukewarm opener, with everyone in the UK allowed to go to see a movie without having to show proof of COVID vaccination, or wear a mask.
The United States’ most populous city, New York, requires all moviegoers to show proof of vaccination, although they don’t have to wear masks inside.
New Orleans and San Francisco have also ordered moviegoers to show proof of vaccination.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles – home to the US entertainment industry, and an avid population of cinemagoers – has ordered people to mask-up indoors regardless of vaccination status, making the classic moviegoing experience far less relaxed than usual. LA will also enforce a vaccination mandate from November 4.
This chart shows the opening weekend takings for No Time To Die in the US and UK, compared to opening weekend takings for the other Daniel Craig-era Bond films. Great Britain has a population size that is almost five times smaller than the United States
However, the film brought in $35 million in the UK – which has about five times fewer the people and no requirements for guests to be vaccinated or wear masks as is the case in American theaters
No Time To Die has not been launched simultaneously on a streaming platform, with the lukewarm opening weekend coming despite predictions moviegoers would flock to see the latest installment in the iconic spy franchise.
America’s largest cinema chains have previously warned they’ll strictly enforce local rules, amid previous claims that making patrons feel safe is key to repairing the COVID-ravaged movie theater business. That saw thousands of theaters shut for most of 2020, and few new releases to encourage movie vans to venture out in areas where they remained open.
Ahead of the summer, major U.S. movie chains including AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas posted on their websites that guests must be fully vaccinated or will be asked to continue wearing masks unless they are eating or drinking.
All three chains added that said they would follow state and local mandates on mask wearing, which may be different from the CDC guidelines.
The long awaited spy film, which sees Daniel Craig giving one last performance as the title character, was one of the first films to be delayed at the start of the pandemic in 2020, and was ultimately postponed four times. Despite the wait, however, and claims it was the movie to save the cinema industry, it flopped in comparison to the four previous films starring Craig as Bond, and has a $300m budget to recoup.
Spectre saw a US opening weekend in 2015 that brought in $70 million, Skyfall hit $88 million when it premiered in 2012 and Quantum of Solace scored $67 million in 2009. Casino Royale, the first Bond film starring Craig, flopped with a $40 million box office weekend score, although all four films ultimately turned a profit, and are considered box office successes.
By comparison, Spectre brought in $32 million in its UK opening weekend, Skyfall took home $27 million and Quantum of Solace scored $25 million. Casino Royale tanked in the UK as well, bringing in just $18 million.
In certain cities like New York City and, as of next month, Los Angeles, patrons must show proof of vaccination to enter movie theaters
Phil Clapp, chief executive of British cinema industry body the UKCA, told Deadline last spring that for ‘ethical, operational and equality reasons’ his association and the ‘overwhelming majority’ of its members are firmly opposed to enforcing vaccination or mask requirements.
‘While it will be for each company to decide its approach, we are not aware of any who are actively considering separate screenings for those with and without a Covid certificate,’ he said.
Plans to bring in vaccine passports were scrapped in England last month. Scotland and Wales will both bring in vaccine passports, although people won’t need them to go and see a movie.
Despite their lack of mandates, the U.K. boasts a higher vaccination rate than the U.S. As of October 9, the most recent statistics from Our World in Data, about 57 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 66 percent have had at least one dose. Meanwhile, about 67 percent of the U.K. population is fully vaccinated and 73 percent have had at least one dose.
No Time to Die’s box office scores reveal that some American audiences are not willing to go to a movie theater when they could stream a film from home
What also contributes to the Bond film’s tanking performance is that the target audience for the movie skews older, and are less likely to be willing to see a film in person.
United Artists Releasing, which distributes Bond movies for its studio MGM Holdings Inc., surveyed opening-weekend audiences in six cities and found that about 25 percent of guests at No Time to Die screenings were seeing a film in a theatre for the first time in 18 months. It also found that 57 percent of Bond viewers this weekend were older than 35.
‘You have to get them used to coming back,’ Erik Lomis, president of distribution at United Artists Releasing, told the Wall Street Journal. ‘The 18- to 34-year olds are driving the box office now.’
By contrast, Black Widow, Disney and Marvel’s superhero adventure film starring Scarlett Johansson, scored $80 million in its first weekend and hit the milestone of being the biggest box office debut of the pandemic. The score doesn’t even include people who streamed the film from home for $30 on Disney Plus.
Black Widow audiences featured a lot more families with children, according to the Wall Street Journal. Other recent releases like Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Venom: Let There Be Carnage have also drawn in higher box office numbers and featured younger audiences.
No Time to Die – co-written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge – centers on the former MI6 agent aka 007 after being retired for five years.
It currently has a ‘certified fresh’ 84 percent critic approval rating (out of 289 reviews) and an 88 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
No Time to Die also features Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Billy Magnussen, and Ana de Armas.
Better luck next week? Cary Joji Fukunaga’s (M) spy flick starring Daniel Craig (L) and Lashana Lynch (R) fell slightly below expectations ($60M-$70M) considering its $250M–$301M budget
Curtain call: No Time to Die – co-written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge – centers on the former MI6 agent aka 007 after being retired for five years
Ensemble: No Time to Die also features Rami Malek (pictured), Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, and Ana de Armas
Andy Serkis’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage took the No. 2 spot with $32 million domestically with a total $185.5 million globally since opening September 14.
Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson star in the superhero sequel, which has a 59 percent critic approval rating (out of 178 reviews) and an 85 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Addams Family 2 – starring Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, and Snoop Dogg – landed in third place with $2.7 million domestically for a global total of $35.7 million.
The four directors – Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon, Laura Brousseau, and Kevin Pavlovic – could only reap a dismal 23 percent critic approval rating (out of 82 reviews) and a 69 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings held steady in the No. 4 spot with $1.1 million domestically for a global total of $401.5 million since opening Labor Day weekend.
Destin Daniel Cretton’s action-packed MCU movie stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, and Tony Leung.
In fifth place was Alan Taylor’s Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark with $400K domestically and $8.3M total globally in its second weekend.
In it, Michael Gandolfini takes over Tony Soprano from his late father James Gandolfini alongside Vera Farmiga, Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal, and Corey Stoll.
Lasting power: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings held steady in the No. 4 spot with $1.1M domestically for a global total of $401.5M since opening Labor Day weekend
Origin tale: In fifth place was Alan Taylor’s Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark with $400K domestically and $8.3M total globally in its second weekend