Bond 25 questions: The box office edition

No Time to Die has been out for a few weeks. Once a movie is released, entertainment-news outlets chew over the numbers. Fans then react to stories.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

So how well is No Time to Die doing?

As of Oct. 17, it had an estimated box office take of $348.3 million internationally and $99.5 million in the U.S. for a grand total of $447.8 million.

That has been depicted as strong internationally, not so much in the U.S.

Why “not so much” in the U.S.?

Because as recently as Oct. 4, two weeks ago, there were some estimates No Time to Die’s U.S. opening weekend could be $100 million, according to CNBC.

The movie’s final U.S. opening weekend number was $55,225,007, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s nothing to sneeze at but obviously not $100 million.

And the 25th James Bond film’s U.S. opening weekend was below recent movies such as Venom: Let There Be Carnage ($90 million) and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ($75.4 million).

I see estimates it may take a global box office of more than $900 million for the movie to break even. How is that?

The studios split that box office with theaters. Precise figures vary, but a rule of thumb is studios get about 50 percent. In China, that’s only 25 percent. But that’s a huge market, so the studios want to be there.

No Time to Die also was very expensive. A U.K. regulatory filing last year indicated the production cost was nearing $300 million. There were also marketing costs, including a pricey Super Bowl ad, in February 2020. Pandemic-related delays may have boosted the marketing expenses.

The MI6 James Bond website published an analysis on Aug. 2. It said No Time to Die “needs to clear $928m at the box office to avoid losing money.” Other outlets have published similar figures. Variety, in an Oct. 11 story, said the film will need “to gross at least $800 million globally to get out of the red (probably closer to $900 million).”

To be clear, the accountants at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, and Universal, handing international distribution, know far more than fans and other outsiders.

Since the pandemic, what movie has had the highest box office?

F9: The Fast Saga at almost $716.6 million.

Can No Time to Die beat that?

The movie is to be released in additional markets. It remains to be seen.

One Response

  1. I remain unconvinced by the assumptions from MI6 that informed the variety piece and others. In the case of the Bond films most of the production money, which added up to ~$300m, comes from 1) sponsorship (was roughly 1/3 of Skyfalls budget), 2) sales of distribution rights, in this case to MGM and Annapurna, and Universal (ROW) which is also in the 100m+ area 3) tax incentives and grants from the various filming locations. Add to that probably $80-100m of marketing money that needs to be found too (would have been more like $50m without the delay) and which makes the effective budget for the film something like this. $300+100 studio costs = 400m. Then -100m product placements and tax grants. So 300m. Wait what about number 2) distribution? Well, that’s complex because essentially Bond is owned by MGM and EON and the rights were sold to an MGM and Annapurna JV, so arguably the money there is circular… hard to say but I’ll call it a partial cost to create a worst case scenario. Also Bond has historically struck unbalanced disty deals where the disty paid 50% of the PA costs but only got 25% of the profits. There is no evidence that EON/MGM paid back any sponsorship money due to the delay. So, the studio (MGM/EON) get a blended return that’s about 55% of ticket sales (25%China, 40%USA and up to 60% in other markets). That means that a point ~$700m should see it into profit for all concerned and probably much less if we only care about EON ; ) What about that interest because of the delay? It’s roughly $18-20m… as you can see, in the amounts we are talking about, that’s neither here nor there. My personal prediction is it will take $745m at the box office.

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