British cinema owners are quietly confident that when tickets go on sale next week for Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond demand will ensure the biggest box office hit since the start of the pandemic.
No Time to Die, the 25th instalment of the spy franchise, gets its world premiere in the UK on 30 September, having been rescheduled three times since April 2020. Bond mania could make it the first film to bring cinemas back to their pre-pandemic popularity.
“We are so excited about the return of James Bond to the big screen at the end of this month,” said Carol Welch, the managing director of Odeon, the UK’s biggest cinema chain. “There is good momentum in the business and we have been really encouraged by the reaction of those returning to our cinemas.”
Craig’s four previous outings as Bond have grossed more than £305m at the UK box office, and over $3.2bn (£2.3bn) globally, and are the most commercially successful in the franchise – unadjusted for inflation.
The highest-grossing of Craig’s Bond films to date has been 2012’s Skyfall, whose £103m UK box office takings make it the second biggest earner of all time after Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Quantum of Solace in 2008 was Craig’s least successful outing at £51.2m.
The biggest films at the UK box office since the pandemic began have been Peter Rabbit 2 (£20.3m) and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow (£18.7m), levels that cinema owners are confident No Time To Die will eclipse.
“Bond is 100% going to be the biggest film since the pandemic in the UK,” said a senior executive at another of the UK’s biggest movie chains. “It should be at pre-Covid levels or very close. I’m not sure if it will be the biggest globally, Fast and the Furious 9 has made over $700m and only two Bond films have managed that to date. A lot also depends on which markets are open at the time, Australia is currently closed as are parts of Japan and China for example, but Daniel Craig is the biggest box office Bond we’ve seen.”
1. Peter Rabbit 2: £20.3m
2. Black Widow: £18.7m
3. Tenet: £17.4m
4. Fast & Furious 9: £16.4m
5. The Suicide Squad: £13.8m