Audiences are showing up in force to send Daniel Craig off in style.
MGM’s “No Time to Die,” which marks the actor’s last stint as James Bond, opened to $6.3 million in Thursday previews, the best for a Bond film. The previous record for a 007 opening night was “Spectre’s” $5.3 million in 2015, and before that “Skyfall” made $4.6 million from advance showings.
Craig’s fifth and final Bond film is on pace to earn between $60 million to $70 million in its opening weekend, but projections are difficult to make because of the COVID of things, which could depress turnout. “No Time to Die” needs to make bank. All those exotic locales and action set pieces don’t come cheap, after all. The film carries a massive $250 million budget and cost more than $100 million to market and promote.
“Skyfall” had the best weekend launch for a Bond film, earning $88.4 million domestically when it opened in 2012. “Spectre” debuted to $70 million, a figure that “No Time to Die” could eclipse. The spy thriller has already gotten off to a fast start internationally. It earned $121 million last weekend from its first 54 international markets, which includes the U.K., Brazil, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and Spain.
Reviewers have mostly embraced the film, giving Craig’s farewell to the role an 82% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman was one of those fans, writing in his review, “‘No Time to Die’ is a terrific movie: an up-to-the-minute, down-to-the-wire James Bond thriller with a satisfying neoclassical edge.”
Director Cary Joji Fukunaga (“True Detective”) is getting most of the credit for injecting that edge. The cast includes Bond veterans Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes and Christoph Waltz, who are joined by Ana de Armas and Lashana Lynch, as two new agents, and Rami Malek as the main antagonist.