Despite its critical acclaim and apparent commercial success, the James Bond film No Time to Die could lose the studio as much as $100 million.
James Bond’s 25th film, No Time to Die, could lose about $100 million despite its commercial success. No Time to die dropped earlier this year to generally positive reviews and managed to attract large audiences despite the uncertain cinema climate caused by the pandemic. The film was Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007, and markedly shook up the Bond universe with it’s unconventional ending.
No Time to Die has become the most commercially successful film of the pandemic era, and even surpassed the box office at F9 by crossing $730 million, and it’s been praised for the performance of its cast, and introduced new characters that quickly became popular, such as Ana de Armas’ Paloma.
But according to Variety, despite the film’s apparent success, No Time to Die may be set to lose as much as $100 million. Quotes “sources close to production,” the report suggests that Craig’s last film as James Bond should earn around $900 million to reach its total budget. Although reports of significant financial losses are being disputed by MGM, which instead claimed in a statement that “The film has far surpassed our theatrical judgment.”
The No Time to Die production budget reportedly came close to striking $300 million, with an additional $100 million spent on marketing. This latter figure is not taken into account however, the one and a half year long release delay where the campaign team had to keep drumming up interest fees. Considering that not everything a movie earns is directly returned to the pockets of the studio, a movie needs to produce far more money than it was made for before it starts making a profit, and if the break-even estimate of $900 million is correct, that achievement may be out of reach for a movie that has almost maxed out its time in theaters.
While Variety blames COVID-19 as the sole challenge facing the film’s profits, John Nolte of Breitbart blames the movie itself, and adds the following insights.
I’m still going to argue that No Time to Die, which is a pretty lousy James Bond movie, hurt itself commercially, especially here in the United States. On top of just not being very good, No Time to Die was repeatedly sold as a woketard entry in the franchise. Oh, look, 007 is a black woman now! and Hey, Sean Connery’s James Bond was a straight-up rapist, wasn’t he?
[…]the producers and the director sent a pretty clear signal that they do not like their own franchise and do not like fun. And for the most part, the movie itself, which wasn’t agonizingly woke, reflected that. Worst of all, it just wasn’t very good. My argument: This is why it grossed a pretty pathetic (even during a pandemic) $155 million here in North America.
Is the pandemic really an excuse for a James Bond movie to gross less money domestically than A Quiet Place Part II, which hit $160 million? Two movies, released at right around the same time as Woke Bond, grossed over $200 million domestically: Venom II ($207 million) and that Shang-Chi ten rings thing ($224 million)
If those films could leap over $200 million, why not Bond?
Had No Time to Die been more fun and not been produced and directed by smug killjoys, it could have easily brought in another $50 to $75 million domestically and come a lot closer to profitability.
While the question of whether No Time to Die making a profit probably isn’t a concern for most fans, the economic viability of blockbusters will play a significant role in the future of the series. Audiences have spent a lot of time wondering who the next James Bond will be, but if the studio ends up disappointed by their pandemic-era losses, it’s quite possible that the next 007 will never see the scale of movies that were a fixture of the Craig era, which its move to Amazon may be a harbinger of.
Perhaps, as Nolte contends, the studios should avoid “wokeness” in the movies going forward. After the way franchises such as Star Wars, The Terminator, and even Charlies Angels succumbed to the woke infection, one would hope that future projects would avoid such identity politics, but so far it seems you can never go poor betting Hollywood will do something stupid.