No Time To Die debuts in US slightly behind expectations with $76m

LOS ANGELES: No Time To Die, the latest instalment in the James Bond franchise, debuted to US$56 million (S$76 million) at the North American box office, a result that fell somewhat short of expectations and signals that even one of the most storied brands is still being forced to contend with a moviegoing landscape that has been dramatically altered by the pandemic.

Heading into the weekend, it was projected to make US$60 million to US$70 million in its first three days of release.

Though not a disaster, the film's final weekend total was expected to be higher because of positive reviews and it represents Daniel Craig's final outing as the stylish secret agent.

Currently showing in cinemas here, No Time To Die carries a massive US$250 million production budget, to say nothing of the more than US$100 million marketing spend.

Add in the tens of millions it cost to delay the film, which was supposed to premiere in April last year before the pandemic altered those plans, and experts estimate that, conservatively, No Time To Die needs to gross at least US$800 million at the global box office to make money in its theatrical window.

Overseas, audiences have been turning out for No Time To Die at the international box office, where it has already made US$145 million.

The 007 adventure has opened in most major markets except for China (set for Oct 29), a popular territory for all things Bond. Globally, the film has collected US$313 million.

At the domestic box office, the slightly muted results for No Time To Die are attributable to several factors, including hesitation among older audiences to return to the movies and its two-hour and 45-minute runtime, which limited the number of screenings each day.

It is also the first Hollywood tentpole with real competition at the box office.

Sony's Venom: Let There Be Carnage, which opens in cinemas here on Oct 14, opened last weekend in North America and has continued to pull in crowds, which may have cannibalised ticket sales for Bond.

The Venom follow-up slid to second place with US$32 million, a figure that is more than many pandemic-era releases have made in their entire theatrical run. In total, the film has generated a mighty US$141 million in North America and US$185 million worldwide.- REUTERS