No Time to Die brought Daniel Craig’s time as James Bond to a close last month. He is the longest-serving Bond with 15 years behind the wheel of the Aston Martin. The movie has been divisive. The woke-panic that preceded the movie’s debut dissipated on release but some Bond fans had a hard time dealing with where it took the character in terms of his relationships, and of course THAT ending. You can read our review of the movie here, but be warned there are spoilers.
This hasn’t stopped it from doing big numbers, especially in the light of a pandemic box office. This is despite the core audience for Bond being the slightly older demographic who aren’t returning to theatres in big numbers yet, and restrictions still being in place in key territories.
As of today, it was at $734 million globally. The pattern is the same as usual with Bond, in that it is less reliant on US domestic takings as the international appeal of the character remains large. The overseas haul is impressively large at over 79% of the global total. This haul also makes it the highest-grossing movie of 2021, passing Fast 9: The Fast Saga.
With most of the year’s big releases now out, it looks like December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrection, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife are the ones to watch and may have the potential to unseat No Time To Die as box-office champ. Ghostbusters: Afterlife had an unexpectedly strong opening weekend.
Michael De Luca, Chairman of MGM’s film group, and Pamela Abdy, MGM Film Group President had this to say to Deadline about the news:
“We are so thrilled to see audiences returning to theaters across the world and for their ongoing support of the theatrical experience. After a long delay, we are especially gratified to know No Time to Die has entertained so many moviegoers the world over. Along with our partners at Eon, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, all of us at MGM are grateful to the teams at Universal Pictures, United Artists Releasing, and in our own MGM territories for their tremendous efforts to cross this great milestone with No Time to Die.
This achievement is a testament to Daniel Craig and the entire cast, as well as our director Cary Fukunaga, producers Michael and Barbara, and the crew for making an incredible film. We extend our thanks to our exhibitor and promotional partners for remaining steadfast in their support of the film.”
The movie was released to PVOD in the 31-day COVID window and is also doing big numbers on home viewing, with DVD and BluRay releases still to come.
The financial situation around Bond is among the most complex in movies, a world in which Hollywood accounting can be made to say pretty much whatever the studio wants it to. For instance when Bohemian Rhapsody was claimed as a loss despite a $900 million haul on a $55 million budget. This means they don’t have to pay out points on the back end.
In the days when Bond movies cost less than $100 million, the movies were frequently in profit before a single theater had shown a single frame of film. This was due to the commercial power of the brand through product placement and pre-sales, plus handsome distribution deals.
With a +$250 million budget for No Time To Die and the delay of over a year due to COVID, the lazy internet formula was applied by commentators to say the movie needed $900 million just to break even. This fails to take into account the complex ownership situation with Bond and that multiple layers will already be receiving a payout. This movie is very much in profit already. Eon and Danjaq will be making like Scrooge McDuck.
The question is will that filter down to the bottom layers in the form of bonus payments? Or will Hollywood accountants get their way?