No Time to Die has only been open for about two weeks in parts of Europe and less than a week in the U.S., but it’s already grossed over $300 million. Does that sound impressive? It might not be. In a new piece by Variety (in a bit sussed out by /Film) examining its slight underperformance in America, they’ve concluded that the 25th Bond film will need to make about thrice that just to turn a profit.
The franchise’s latest, which is also longtime star Daniel Craig’s swan song as the character, cost $250 million, which it’s already surpassed globally. But there’s also another price tag: the extra $100 million spent on promotion. They conclude that the movie will need to gross at least $800 million to get out of the red — although it will really need to be closer to $900 million.
Right now, box office prognosticators are predicting Die’s final North American haul will be in the neighborhood of $150 million — far shorter than the previous two Bonds, Spectre ($200 million) and Skyfall ($300 million). Still, it’s not as though the franchise has ever needed to rely on American audiences. It’s a worldwide franchise, and it’s yet to open in one of the most Bond-friendly markets, China.
There are some other factors against it. It runs some three hours, including previews and ads. It still finds Craig’s Bond (still!) brooding over an ex 15 years later. Oh, and there’s still a pandemic afoot, and older audiences — the bulk of the series’ fanbase — have so far proven reluctant to get back into theaters, vaccine or not.
But should Die fail to get into the black, there are other options. Variety says one option is to scale back a bit budget-wise. But they can’t go indie. As one expert points out, “audiences expect a certain level of production value from James Bond.”
The future, though, is still open. The Bond franchise was a major component of Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM, which has long owned the series. And Bond producers claim to have yet to even think about who will replace Daniel Craig, who [redacted] in his final outing. So don’t worry: You’ll be hearing from James Bond again, and we don’t mean a postcard.