It looked like the pandemic had beaten even James Bond. But you can’t keep a good spy down, and 18 months after it was originally scheduled for release No Time To Die has had its royal premiere in London.
Now it’s hoped Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as the agent with a license to kill is enough to lead the cinema industry out of the COVID slump that has left theatres both shaken and stirred.
UK-based chain Odeon say they’ve already sold more than 175,000 tickets for the film, which opens there on Thursday, while Cineworld reports they’ve received their highest pre-booking numbers since Avengers: Endgame in 2019.
Similar excitement is sure to follow before No Time To Die’s planned Australian opening on November 11. Of course, that’s reliant on restrictions easing in time.
Helping build hype for the action spectacular is the fact trailers have been doing the rounds for more than two years.
Daniel Craig understands this Bond film is probably the most anticipated ever, saying it’s, “incredibly important to cinema and to history, and the weight of that has been on my shoulders for a while”.
The question now is whether James Bond is enough to get cinema-goers around the globe comfortable enough with returning to the movies in general in numbers large enough to help the industry recover.
After all, the pandemic has seen fans grow more comfortable with having their cinema needs met at home through streaming, with many investing in home cinema set-ups that provide amazing sound and vision without being crowded in with a large audience.
“I’m really hoping that it does entice people back into into cinemas and they feel comfortable doing that,” says actress Naomie Harris, who plays Moneypenny.