We have arrived at a weekend nearly two years in the making — two and a half years if we go back to the start of production on the 25th James Bond film. But after directorial changes and several delays caused by the pandemic, No Time To Die has finally hit theaters with a lot of expectations behind the final appearance of Daniel Craig as 007. Four out of five posted critics recommend the film, which stands at 84% on the Tomatometer, and it follows the biggest opening to date since 2019 from Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Thoughts that it could possibly hit $100 million this weekend were wildly uneducated guesstimates, but let’s look at how it settled into a box office that is starting to enjoy a resurgence, if not a full renaissance.
(Photo by Nicola Dove/©MGM)
The disappointment that may be lingering around a $56 million start is that it could not actually outgross SPECTRE’s opening weekend of $70.4 million. A $75 million beginning was a hope many held, though in normal times a drop in attendance after a disappointing entry would not be a surprise. It is nearly universally agreed that SPECTRE is the weakest Craig entry – 63% on the Tomatometer compared to Quantum’s 65% – but these aren’t normal times, and while Venom: Let There Be Carnage may seem like an outlier at the moment (we’ll catch up on those numbers in a bit), even the sequels deemed pandemic successes are showing a drop in percentage from their previous outings.
Taking out both films available as hybrid streamers and previous entries that grossed less than $100 million (direct ones, not reboots like Snake Eyes), that brings us back to A Quiet Place Part II and F9. Those films (currently the third- and fourth-highest grossing films of the period) are off 14.87% and 23.45%, respectfully. Though early, No Time To Die is on pace to finish somewhere between the $160 million and $173 million that those two films earned. Where will that put it in comparison to SPECTRE? Down between 14-20%, right in line with the drop of those other blockbuster sequels. Carve that up however you want between word of mouth, lack of repeat viewing, franchise fatigue, or a portion of the community still biding their time to wait for theatrical releases to be available at home due to the continuing pandemic. The good news for us is that the numbers on our national catastrophe are headed in the right direction; the good news for No Time To Die is that not only are its domestic totals looking to be remarkably consistent with the trends, but it will also become just the second film to reach a half-billion worldwide during this time. It is already over $313 million. So curb the disappointment.
(Photo by ©Sony Pictures)
The first film grossed $35 million in its second weekend and had $142 million at this point; $32 million this weekend still puts the sequel over $140 million. No film (out of 119) with that much in the tank after 10 days has failed to reach $200 million. That includes films that even grossed a bit less than Carnage, like Solo: A Star Wars Story ($29.3 million), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ($29.4 million), 2005’s War of the Worlds ($30.4 million), and 2014’s Godzilla ($30.9 million). Plus it should get a nice boost from the Monday holiday. But what about next weekend? What happens if it drops down to between $16-17 million? Only 14 of 32 films with a third weekend that low reached $200 million. That’s also the half-empty side, as it would still put Venom: Let There Be Carnage around $167 million, and no film with at least $165 million after 17 days missed the milestone. With a now hybrid streaming Halloween Kills opening next week, Venom still has a pretty comfy cushion even if it ends up closer to the original film’s gross between $200-210 million than what Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is going to achieve.
(Photo by Jasin Boland/©Marvel Studios)
Speaking of that film, its $4.2 million was the second-best sixth weekend of the era, behind Free Guy ($5.08 million) and just ahead of A Quiet Place Part II ($4.10 million). Its total of $212.5 million is just behind (in weekend and gross) where The Lost World: Jurassic Park was after 38 days, so its final tally in the vicinity of $225 million still holds, while it becomes just the third film of the pandemic to cross $400 million worldwide. The Addams Family 2 had an OK hold after an OK opening, down 43% to $10 million. At $31 million it is behind the pace of The Boss Baby: Family Business ($34.9 million), which was streaming for free on Peacock during release, while Addams is on VOD for $19.99. But its second weekend was about a million higher than Baby, putting a $50 million gross in play if its dips do not get more erratic and it has one more weekend before Ron’s Gone Wrong attempts to wring some dough out of a depleted family market.
Warner Bros. must really be sweating out the release of Dune, dreading what their HBO MAX decision may have cost them, but anticipating an opening gross of at least $15 million. That is something that cannot be said for six of their releases this year, including Oscar-winner Judas and the Black Messiah, Those Who Wish Me Dead, Reminiscence, Malignant, Cry Macho and now The Many Saints of Newark which fell to $1.4 million this weekend for a total of $7.4 million. That’s four releases in a row. A24’s Lamb put up a respectable $1 million in just 583 theaters, comparable to Focus’ release of Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter, which opened to $1.03 million in 580 theaters and has grossed over $2.6 million to date. Finally, Greenwich Entertainment’s release of The Rescue, the incredible true story of the Thai soccer team trapped in a cave for weeks, grossed $81,000 in five theaters. It is just the ninth film of the pandemic to post a $10,000+ per-theater-average, and its sixth-best $16,200 PTA ranks below Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Black Widow, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the Vietnamese film Bo Gia, and F9.
(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)
The second chapter of David Gordon Green’s Michael Myers trilogy, Halloween Kills, opens in theaters next week while also streaming for free on Peacock. Word of mouth was not great on the 2018 first film after a very frontloaded opening; how much will streaming cut out of the already likely diminished returns on the sequel? Exclusively in theaters will also be Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck. The historical drama will be another test to see if there is any progress on the adult demographic coming back to theaters. The first of Scott’s two films slated for release this fall (House of Gucci opens next month) is currently Fresh at 76% on the Tomatometer.
[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]