Agent 007 is shattering international box office records despite pandemic-related setbacks.
In its weekend debut, the latest James Bond flick “No Time to Die” starring Daniel Craig reeled in $119 million from 54 international markets, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Hong Kong and Japan.
That makes “No Time to Die” the first title from Hollywood to crack $100 million without opening in China, which recently became the word’s largest movie market overtaking the US.
The film, which is Craig’s swan song playing the suave, British super spy, will debut in the US on Friday. It will open in China on Oct. 29.
The box office has had a bumpy 2021, but has shown strong signs of recovering after 18 months of movie theater shutdowns, reopenings at limited capacity and a dearth of new Hollywood films.
This year, the global box office is on track to gross $20.2 billion, up 68 percent from the pandemic-hobbled 2020 which brought in about $12 billion, according to Gower Street Analytics. But 2021 is still far off from 2019’s record-breaking year, which reeled in $42.5 billion.
So far, 2021 has been boosted by box office leaders like “Hi, Mom,” a Chinese comedy that has brought in over $822 million, as well as Universal Pictures’ “F9,” the latest action movie in the “Fast & Furious” franchise with $716.6 million, according to ticket sales tracker, Box Office Mojo.
China’s “Detective Chinatown 3,” Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla vs. Kong” and Disney’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” round out the top five grossing $686.3 million, $467.9 million and $386.9 million, respectively.
Although it is unclear whether the new Bond will become one of the top-grossing films of the year, its current opening numbers are keeping pace and are comparable Bond’s franchise predecessors, 2015’s “Spectre,” which brought in $123 million in its international debut and 2012’s “Skyfall,” which nabbed $109 million at its international debut.
“No Time to Die’s” strong showing is due mainly to a massive box office debut in the UK and Ireland, where the Universal Pictures and MGM-produced flick grossed more on its opening weekend with nearly $26 million, than any other film in the history of the James Bond franchise.
“This was a huge team effort by all,” Universal’s president of international distribution Veronika Kwan Vandenberg said in a statement Monday. The exec added that “it’s very gratifying to see the film achieve such heights during the pandemic.”