Long Range Box Office Forecast: No Time to Die

Photo Credits: Linus Sandgren & MGM & Eon Productions ("No Time to Die")

After multiple delays and six years of anticipation for Daniel Craig’s final turn as 007, No Time to Die is finally set to hit North American movie theaters — and *only* movie theaters — on October 8.

To call the road getting here long and winding would be an understatement. Craig’s fifth outing as James Bond is the franchise’s first chapter since 2015’s Spectre, marking the longest gap between 007 adventures since the six-year space between 1989’s The Living Daylights (Timothy Dalton’s second and final turn) and 1995’s beloved GoldenEye (Pierce Brosnan’s debut).

How has the wait affected box office prospects for such a valuable film to MGM and the global theatrical industry? It’s not the first time we’ve assessed this film’s forecasts, and while much of this analysis will be similar to the film’s initial long range forecast published in February 2020, things have certainly evolved since then.

PROS:

  • Pandemic recovery at the box office has endured peaks and valleys this year, with some of the most notable performances coming from films with strong male audience appeal. 007 clearly falls into that wheelhouse. For exhibitors, this film’s exclusivity to theaters upon release is also a major factor.
  • This could effectively be the first must-see event movie of the pandemic for some adults, and even though Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens one week prior, Bond is expected to have carte blanche in terms of IMAX and all other PLF screens upon release.
  • Following the first trailer back in 2019, No Time to Die has generated strong search trends, online sentiment, and engagement across major social media outlets relative to other adult-targeted franchises. Metrics have consistently been comparable to those of Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Hobbs & Shaw, while not far off from F9 and The Fate of the Furious. That’s held true with each subsequent trailer over the past year-and-a-half. Each time it looked like the film would be able to open, though it ultimately didn’t, interest still measurably spiked with consistency.
  • On top of the allure of this being Craig’s presumed finale, fans are enthusiastic about the film’s expansive cast — which includes recent Oscar-winner Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) as the mysterious villain, Lashana Lynch and Ana de Armas in newcomer roles, and the return of Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright, Ralph Fiennes, and Christoph Waltz as their memorable characters from previous Craig-era Bond films.
  • Although the franchise has typically adhered to episodic tales over the course of its 24-going-on-25 films, the hint of this one wrapping up the Craig character’s arc — which began with Casino Royale — might help it benefit from “the finale factor” that has provided other franchises with box office boosts.
  • Craig’s turn as Bond has proven to be among the most popular since Sean Connery’s original big screen stamp. In fact, his 15-year tenure officially surpasses Roger Moore’s previous 12-year run (though Moore still holds the title for most “official” Bond films with seven).
  • Generally speaking, Craig’s Casino Royale (94 percent from critics, 89 percent from audiences) and Skyfall (92 percent and 86 percent, respectively) are widely hailed as among the best in the Bond canon — a level of goodwill not to be underestimated going into his final appearance.
  • The matured and sometimes gritty era of 007 storytelling has seen the franchise elevate itself back into blockbuster tiers at the box office, with Skyfall and Spectre combining to earn nearly $2 billion globally between them.
  • The addition of Phoebe Waller-Bridge (creator of Fleabag and Killing Eve) in the writing process has generated significant buzz among fan circles, suggesting the film could gain additional appeal among female audiences with her contributions to the story.
  • While Spectre wasn’t as universally beloved as Skyfall or Casino Royale, this franchise has often shown a knack for being to able to rebound after a “sequel” slump” at various points throughout its 59-year history (including Craig’s own timeline as Skyfall clearly wasn’t weighed down by the mixed reception toward Quantum of Solace).
  • Musically, the franchise was already fresh off two Oscar-winning tracks from Adele (Skyfall) and Sam Smith with Spectre‘s “The Writing’s on the Wall.” As any great Bond film can usually attest, the attachment of Billie Eilish to the film’s title song already generated pop culture synergy given her rise to fame over the past few years, not to mention appeal to a younger-than-usual demographic for the franchise.

    The title track, after less than 24 hours of release, charted highly on various music streaming services in 2020 and reached #1 in many countries around the globe. It’s already a GRAMMY winner, too.

CONS:

  • The biggest drawback is, yet again, the pandemic itself. Despite many positive signals in recent weeks, not all moviegoers are comfortable returning just yet as Delta variant concerns and high case counts among the unvaccinated remain in play. In that same breath, it’s crucial to remember that the global market remains fractured given varying pandemic impacts in some regions. As such, reaching the $1.1 billion and $881 million worldwide box office hauls of Skyfall and Spectre, respectively, should not be the measuring stick of success in the current climate.
  • While male moviegoers have been integral to box office hits this year, Bond’s core audience skews notably older than the likes of F9 or Marvel films due to their youth and family appeal. No Time to Die will need some of the most hesitant-to-return moviegoers — women over 35 — to turn up if this film is to have a chance at either the pandemic opening weekend record (Black Widow‘s $80.4 million) or the franchise’s own three highest debuts (Skyfall‘s $88.4 million, Spectre‘s $70.4 million, and Quantum‘s $67.5 million) on the domestic front.
  • The aforementioned Spectre received mixed reviews and audience reactions, proving to have shorter box office staying power than Skyfall and Royale (though it handily out-grossed the latter overall). With marketing teasing some connection to Spectre‘s storyline, it remains to be seen whether this film can stand on its own and/or overcome its predecessor’s divided reactions. The benefit Skyfall had in overcoming Quantum‘s drawbacks was that it effectively was a standalone film, while it also benefited heavily the massive 50th anniversary campaign waged back in 2012.
  • With the switch in distribution rights from Sony on previous films to MGM with this title (and Universal, internationally), there’s a question mark around what to expect from the heart of the film’s primary ad push in the next three weeks. To that end, final marketing in the pre-release window — as well as critical reception — will be key to the film’s opening and long-term prospects. Thus far, though, it’s been in healthy rotation dating back to the Tokyo Summer Olympics and other major broadcasts since.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2021 Calendar
(as of 9/17/21)

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Low/High Range % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Low/High Range % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
9/24/2021 Courageous Legacy $500,000 – $3,000,000   $1,000,000 – $7,000,000   1,000 Sony Pictures
9/24/2021 Dear Evan Hansen $6,000,000 – $15,000,000   $18,000,000 – $40,000,000   3,300 Universal Pictures
10/1/2021 The Addams Family 2 $12,000,000 – $22,000,000   $40,000,000 – $70,000,000   3,700 United Artists Releasing
10/1/2021 The Jesus Music         n/a Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company
10/1/2021 The Many Saints of Newark $7,000,000 – $16,000,000 -44% $20,000,000 – $45,000,000 -49% 3,600 Warner Bros. Pictures
10/1/2021 Venom: Let There Be Carnage $45,000,000 – $65,000,000 6% $105,000,000 – $145,000,000 6% 4,100 Sony Pictures / Columbia
10/8/2021 No Time to Die $56,000,000 – $85,000,000   $140,000,000 – $240,000,000     MGM
10/15/2021 Halloween Kills           Universal Pictures
10/15/2021 The Last Duel           Disney / 20th Century Studios
10/22/2021 Dune           Warner Bros. Pictures
10/22/2021 The French Dispatch           Disney / Searchlight Pictures
10/22/2021 Ron’s Gone Wrong           Disney / 20th Century Studios
10/29/2021 Antlers           Disney / Searchlight Pictures
10/29/2021 Last Night in Soho           Focus Features
10/29/2021 My Hero Academia: World Heroes’ Mission           Funimation / Toho Co. Ltd.
11/5/2021 Eternals           Disney / Marvel Studios
11/5/2021 Spencer           NEON / Topic Studios
11/12/2021 Belfast           Focus Features
11/19/2021 King Richard           Warner Bros. Pictures
11/19/2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife           Sony Pictures / Columbia
11/24/2021 Encanto           Walt Disney Pictures
11/24/2021 House of Gucci           MGM / United Artists Releasing
11/24/2021 National Champions           STXfilms
11/24/2021 Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City           Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/3/2021 Wolf           Focus Features
12/10/2021 Cyrano           United Artists Releasing
12/10/2021 Don’t Look Up           Netflix
12/10/2021 Violence of Action           STXfilms
12/10/2021 West Side Story (2020)           Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/17/2021 Nightmare Alley           Disney / Searchlight Pictures
12/17/2021 Spider-Man: No Way Home           Sony / Columbia / Marvel Studios
12/22/2021 A Journal for Jordan (Wide Expansion)           Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/22/2021 The King’s Man           Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/22/2021 The Matrix Resurrections           Warner Bros. Pictures
12/22/2021 Sing 2           Universal Pictures
12/25/2021 American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story           Lionsgate / Kingdom Story Company
12/31/2021 (no releases scheduled)            

For more information on detailed and pinpoint forecasts, contact us for pricing and availability.

As always, the news cycle is constantly evolving as the pandemic dictates. Projections are subject to change amid breaking announcements.