The performance of “No Time to Die” this weekend and in the following weeks will have a significant impact on the theatrical industry’s health and the future of 007.
Jonathan Kuntz, a cinema professor from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film,
and Television, told CNN Business, “The Bond series has always been done on a big scale.”
“James Bond is the pinnacle of the theatrical cinema.”
“Now, people are asking in the twenty-first century,
is there still room for it,” Kuntz said. “No Time to Die” is projected to gross $55 million to $60 million in North America this weekend,
figures that are cautious due to the epidemic. Given Craig’s track record at the box office, that figure might be considerably higher.
According to Comscore, the James Bond series has grossed more than $7 billion globally (SCOR).
Craig’s Bond films (including “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Skyfall,” “Spectre,”
and “No Time to Die,” which debuted worldwide last week) have grossed $3.3 billion, almost half of the total.
“One of the most cherished runs in the long history of 007 has been Daniel Craig’s,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice.com,
told CNN Business. “Since ‘Casino Royale,’ he and the creative teams involved have worked hard to modernize the brand,
and finally they’ve got the opportunity to conclude their chapter on their own terms.”
Bond audiences are, to be fair, considerably older than those who watch “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” which grossed $90 million last weekend,
and he doesn’t have the Marvel brand connected to him. But Bond is still Bond, one of cinema’s most enduring characters.
When you add in Craig’s final performance and positive reviews (the picture has an 84 percent critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes),
the film’s box office figures may likely outperform predictions.
Furthermore, the picture has already grossed $121 million worldwide and $6.3 million in the United States as of Thursday night, a strong start.
A huge box office victory for “No Time to Die” may keep the momentum continuing from “Venom’s” excellent performance last weekend through the remainder of October,
which is crucial if cinemas want to keep pushing forward and into 2022 strong. Other films have debuted to mixed reviews this year,
but “No Time to Die” is perhaps the most significant pandemic picture to date. If it succeeds in attracting an audience, it may pave the way for a better future for theatres.
“There was a period in the 1980s when James Bond films appeared to be going through the motions.
“However, I believe that each James Bond picture since 2006 has been meticulously constructed,” Kuntz remarked.
“That doesn’t mean they’re all masterpieces, but in the Bond flicks, they’ve given us something truly fresh and aesthetically beautiful.”
“The issue is, is it enough?” Kuntz said. Is Bond sufficient? And if it isn’t, the theatrical release is in jeopardy.”
Bezos, Jeff Bezos
James Bond has never gotten along with rich, bold, technology-obsessed guys. (See Blofeld, the villain in 1961’s “Thunderball.”) But the spy will have to do so now that he has a new employer in Jeff Bezos.
In May, Amazon paid $8.4 billion for MGM, the Bond film studio.
MGM has almost 4,000 films and 17,000 TV programs in its library, including iconic characters like Rocky Balboa and RoboCop. The greatest catch, though, is Bond.
Eon Productions also owns a share of the espionage franchise, which the company owns.
Beyond Bond’s box office success, the films and their protagonist symbolize a way of life that has extended across the world and into popular culture.
Bond is a feeling, not just a piece of intellectual property.
While streaming is just a tiny portion of Amazon’s business,
the firm has grown into a major player in the entertainment industry.
Prime Video is linked to Amazon’s famous Prime program,
which has more than 200 million paying members and provides quicker product delivery.
It’s a formidable competitor in the streaming industry as a result, and adding Bond to the mix will further strengthen that position.
But what does this imply for Bond’s cinematic future?
The character’s producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are certain that 007 will remain in cinemas.
But it doesn’t rule out the possibility of Bond or other franchise characters like M, Q, or Moneypenny appearing in other worlds, as the Star Wars and Marvel universes have done so effectively.
“I anticipate some branching out, most likely with spin-off shows and crossovers that concentrate on 007 world peripheral characters,” Robbins added.
“Ultimately, the brand’s health is best preserved by ensuring that it continues to develop without losing part of what made it so wonderful in the first place: movie theatres.”