NTTD passes $500 million global mark

No Time to Die surpassed the $500 million global box office mark this weekend. (UPDATE: The worldwide figure is at an estimated $525.7 million, according to Box Office Mojo.)

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, that would have been cause for mourning after four weeks in theaters worldwide and three weekends in the U.S. Before COVID-19, Bond would have been a candidate for a billion-dollar global box office.

However, in a post-pandemic marketplace, the 25th James Bond film, already ranks as one of the most popular movies in terms of movie theater box office.

No Time to Die passing the $500 million mark was noted in a story by TheWrap.

The highest COVID era box office currently is F9: The Fast Saga at $716.6 million. No Time to Die has yet to be released in China, Australia and New Zealand.

No Time to Die completed principal photography in the fall of 2019, before COVID-19 began to spread across the world. It has been delayed three times because of the pandemic. ‘

Meanwhile, estimates of No Time to Die’s third weekend in the U.S. were released. The Bond film came in No. 3 behind Dune, the major new movie out this weekend, and Halloween Kills. Here’s a tweet from Exhibitor Relations Co.

If No Time to Die passes F9 globally , that will be a sign that James Bond remains very popular. At the same time, a movie can be popular while unprofitable at least during its theatrical release.

No Time to Die had a production cost approaching $300 million. There were additional advertising and marketing expenditures. What’s more, the studios involved (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Universal) only get about half of the box office. In China, it’s only 25 percent.

As ever, we will see.

UPDATE: The U.S. weekend box office estimate is $11.9 million. The final figure will be out on Oct. 25.

Warner Bros. bets big on streaming for 2021

Warner Bros. logo

Warner Bros. plans to make its 2021 film slate available on the HBO Max streaming service the same day the movies are released in theaters, Variety reported.

The movies will be on HBO Max for 31 days. After that time, they will be only available in theaters until the normal home video window opens up, according to the entertainment-news outlet.

The films involved include a new version of Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve (a one-time contender to direct No Time to Die); The Matrix 4; and Suicide Squad.

Warner Bros. is doing something similar with Wonder Woman 1984. That film opens in international theaters in mid-month but will be on HBO Max and theaters in the U.S. starting Dec. 25.

AT&T owns Warner Bros., HBO and HBO Max, the latter intended as a streaming competitor to Netflix.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the home studio of the James Bond films, reportedly had shopped No Time to Die to streaming outlets. No leasing deal took place. The 25th James Bond film currently has an April 2021 release date in theaters.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has played havoc with movie release plans, with many films being delayed multiple times.

Bond 25 questions: Miscellaneous edition

Denis Villeneuve, one-time contender to direct Bond 25

We (apparently) are on the cusp of Bond 25 production getting underway. Before that happens, the blog has a couple of questions (for entertainment purposes only).

Did anybody think Dune would start production before Bond 25? 

You may recall that director Denis Villeneuve said in November 2017 he’d been asked to direct Bond 25 but took a pass because he wanted to direct a new film version of Dune.

Dune was seen as a difficult, ambitious project and one that might take a long time to get going — if it could get started at all.

However, it got underway last week. See stories from UPI and Screen Rant for details. The film’s cast includes the likes of Rebecca Ferguson, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Oscar Isaac and Josh Brolin among others.

Dune has a Nov. 20, 2020 release date, or more than seven months after Bond 25’s April 8, 2020 release date.

Speaking of Bond 25, what’s the state of its script? 

Scott Z. Burns was brought in to rework Bond 25’s script, The Playlist reported last month. He was scheduled to work four weeks.

After roughly four weeks, Burns wrapped up work, the same outlet said last week.

Easy peasy, right?

Not so fast. The more recent Playlist story also talked about cast members such as Ralph Fiennes saying they haven’t seen any script pages.

The writer, Rodrigo Perez, said “the screenplay seems to be a work in progress, and isn’t complete yet enough for producers to circulate it to the cast, despite being just weeks away from filming.” (emphasis added)

“Seems” is a long way from “knowing.” Still, that passage didn’t go unnoticed among 007 fans.

I suppose it should be remembered that Eon Production has always been loosey goosey when it comes to Bond scripts. Two extreme cases:

–Richard Maibaum was still at work during filming of From Russia With Love in 1963. It was after the start of filming that he got the idea of showing Red Grant shadow Bond in Istanbul. That was a move that caused the story to come into focus, according to the documentary Inside From Russia With Love.

–Bruce Feirstein was reworking Tomorrow Never Dies script during filming. He wrote the first draft, others had a go at it and then Feirstein was brought back. Supposedly, Feirstein was writing scenes shortly before they would be filmed.