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Monday, October 11, 2021 1:00 am

Bond tops box office on opening weekend

Associated Press

 After over 18 months of pandemic delays, “No Time to Die” opened on target. The final James Bond film of the Daniel Craig era grossed $56 million from 4,407 North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday, to easily take the first-place spot.

It didn't break any pandemic or 007 records, but it didn't fall significantly short either and is in fact the fourth-best opening in the 25-film series. James Bond isn't Marvel when it comes to opening weekends. Bond has always had an older audience which is typically less inclined to rush out for the first weekend. In fact, the best Bond opening ever didn't even crack $100 million. It was $88.4 million for “Skyfall,” which debuted to in 2012.

“It's been a long time coming to get this movie on the big screen,” said Erik Lomis, the head of distribution for United Artists Releasing. “It's right where we thought it would be and right where tracking predicted it would be.”

“I'm just really, really relieved that it's in the cinemas and people are getting a chance to see it,” Craig said Sunday from the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he was the honorary starter at a NASCAR playoff race. “I am incredibly proud of it, as I am of all the movies, but I was just desperate for people to go and see this in a big group.”

According to North American distributor United Artists Releasing, 25% of moviegoers returned to theaters for the first time in 18 months this weekend, suggesting that the film will have legs.

“That, I thought, was a pretty significant statistic,” Lomis added.

But the profitability of Bond movies ultimately comes down to international, which in the Craig era has regularly accounted for over 70% of the global total. “No Time to Die” launched abroad last weekend, with Universal handling some territories and MGM others, and as of Sunday global grosses were estimated to be over $313.3 million.

“This movie became bigger than life because it was really the first high-profile movie to move off of its release date when the pandemic began,” said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore's senior media analyst. “To have Bond still be appealing and viable and relevant some 60 years on is quite amazing.”

In second place was last week's No. 1 film “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” which fell 64% from its record $90 million launch, earning $32 million in its second weekend. “The Addams Family 2” was third.


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