This Week on The Boxoffice Podcast: No Time to Die Conquers the UK & International Box Office; Did James Bond Disappoint in its US Debut?

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

In this week’s episode of The Boxoffice Podcast, co-hosts Russ Fischer, Daniel Loria, Rebecca Pahle, and Shawn Robbins analyze the opening weekend figures of Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, No Time to Die. Did the latest Bond film fulfill expectations at the box office in the United States after its long-awaited debut? Despite the first consecutive $100M+ weekends at the domestic box office since February 2020, the team questions if No Time to Die’s $55 million opening weekend could be considered disappointing.

Overseas, the film continues its strong run at the box office by dropping less than 30 percent in its top three European markets. No Time to Die pushed the French market to its highest admissions figures of the pandemic with a $10.3 million debut. In the UK, the film became the highest-grossing title of 2021 after only four days in the market, and has already grossed over $70 million. In this week’s feature interview segment, Daniel interviews Everyman Cinemas’ Head of Film, Serena Gill, where No Time to Die became the cinema chain’s highest-earning film of all time in its first ten days of release.

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Highlights from the Interview with Serena Gill, Head of Film at Everyman Cinemas

Why Did No Time to Die Perform So Well at Everyman, When Audiences Could See the Title Anywhere Else?

I’m not sure I have a clear cut answer for that. One of the things that benefited us throughout the pandemic is that we really stayed in contact with our customers. Even when we were closed, we were engaging with them as much as possible. When we were allowed to open last year, despite the fact that there was very little content, we put on old films and did as much as we could over the past year. We’ve seen quite a good reopening this year and had that momentum build, but everything really has been about No Time to Die. This is a film that we’ve been waiting for, that people that were sitting on the fence about whether or not to come back to the cinema would really get off their sofas and onto ours.

On the Significance of Bond Finally Hitting the Big Screen in the UK

The first day we heard that Bond was moving was a reality check that this pandemic was going to be a lot more than we originally thought. It was very difficult closing our doors without really being sure when we would be able to reopen them. And then the other challenge came after reopening our doors and not knowing what to play. We had Tenet, and the idea was that we were we were back on track for a recovery—I think Bond had been dated for October then—and then we had to endure another closure process.

Lessons Everyman Cinemas Learned from the Pandemic

The big lesson was to think outside the box. There was no reverting back to the old way of working. We really had to up our game and focus hard on every single customer coming back in through the doors. That led to us playing more films and doing more marketing than we’ve ever done before. It’s something that we’re definitely focused on right now, not just going with a blanket approach to programming. We are thinking hard about how much can we diversify our offering, how we can we get new people in, re-engaging with customers. It’s made us work a lot harder.

On Diversifying Programming Through Brand Partnerships

We work with a lot of brand partnerships. At the moment, one of the big ones we have is with Jaguar, which is labeled as a Rebel Screening. The idea behind that is to shine a light on diverse films that maybe need a bit more marketing, promotion, and attention to reach audiences. We try to eventize them as much as possible–bringing in a Q&A or something a little bit different–to help reach new audiences. That’s one of the great things about working with other brands, they can sometimes help reach people that we often can’t.

Is No Time to Die a local film for UK audiences?

It’s not necessarily a question we were asking ourselves two years ago, but it’s one that keeps coming up now. That’s because of the experience we had last year in that other territories were able to thrive on local films, whereas we didn’t necessarily have that to fall back on. The million dollar question, is James Bond British film? I would say yes. It’s fundamentally British in the way that it speaks to the UK audience more so than anywhere else. We’ve seen that in the way the UK market has over-indexed on Bond, especially in comparison to the US. So I would say yes, [No Time to Die] is a British film. But I think we need to differentiate that with a local film. If Bond is British, it’s also a global event film, whereas other local British films aren’t. That’s where a lot of the conversation is coming from when we say the UK industry needs to focus more on local British films, ones that could release in this market without necessarily being guided by what’s happening in other territories.

The Importance of Building on Bond’s Momentum for UK Cinemas

I am glad this question came now and not a few weeks ago, because it’s really looking great. What’s great with with Bond is that we’re doing amazingly well, it’s already become our top selling film of all time in just 10 days, which is just remarkable. The amazing thing is that everybody is doing well on this title. This is what we want to see: every cinema chain doing their best with new films coming and following up on this momentum now that Bond is out so we can enjoy a thriving marketplace. Thankfully, for the rest of Q4, we’ve got so many different titles to look forward to. We have blockbusters and we’ve got the London Film Festival happening right now, so there are a lot of really good independent titles that are getting a lot of traction. We’ve got three new kids films coming up, which is amazing, we haven’t had those in a while.

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