‘No Time to Die’ to Lose Millions in Theatrical Run

Over the weekend, “No Time to Die” eclipsed $ 730 million in global ticket sales, making the James Bond sequel the highest-grossing Hollywood film of the year and the highest-performing film at the box office since. that COVID-19 appeared on the scene and almost shut down the movie business.

The action-packed spy show, which suffered from several coronavirus-related delays, has become the rare blockbuster of the pandemic era, which is even more impressive when you consider that adult audiences, the core demographic of “No Time to Die” has been reluctant to return to theaters. However, the movie cost more than $ 250 million to produce, at least $ 100 million to promote, and tens of millions more to postpone for 16 months. Insiders say “No Time to Die” needs to make more than $ 900 million to break even, a feat that would have been realistic if a global health crisis hadn’t completely disrupted the theater industry. As a result, the film may now lose $ 100 million on its theatrical run, according to sources close to the production. Other industry sources suggest that the losses would not reach the nine-figure mark, although they would still be substantial.

MGM, the studio behind Bond’s latest adventure, questions this math. In a statement to Variety, the company insisted that “No Time to Die” not only broke even, but was also a source of income.

“Anonymous and misinformed sources suggesting that the film will lose money are categorically unfounded and, more simply put, not true,” the MGM spokesman said in a statement. “The film has far exceeded our theatrical estimates in this time period, becoming the highest-grossing Hollywood film in the international market and passing ‘F9’ to become the highest-grossing Hollywood film since the pandemic. With the film’s PVOD release already doing a stellar home-viewing business, all while continuing to hold up well theatrically, ‘No Time To Die’ will turn a profit for MGM, both as an individual film title and part of the incredible library of MGM “.

MGM is clearly not admitting that “No Time to Die” is a financial disappointment, but its claim is disputed by others with knowledge of Bond’s budget and in-depth knowledge of what a film of that scope and scale needs to earn to break in. the black.

In any case, the potential losses illuminate the harsh reality that big-budget movies currently face: Going profitable (in theaters at least) is rare at best and basically unfeasible during a pandemic. “No Time to Die” is far from the only store losing money as the film industry struggles to recover. Marvel’s superhero epics “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Eternals” as well as Christopher Nolan’s “Suicide Squad” and mind-blowing “Tenet” end in the red with losses in the tens of millions. Nor are these the biggest box office debacles of the COVID era. That honor would likely go to Twentieth Century Studios’ “The Last Duel,” a landmark epic starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck, which cost more than $ 100 million to produce and promote and will lose more than that after it runs out. a paltry $ 27.4 million globally. It’s a total wash for the studio and a sign of how DOA most movies that don’t feature super spies or superheroes are hitting multiplexes these days. Oscar hopefuls like “Spencer,” “Belfast” and “King Richard” are struggling to draw crowds despite rave reviews.

Things are definitely looking up. Revenues for October hit record highs thanks to movies like “Dune” and “No Time to Die.” But there is an unfortunate reality behind these numbers. Hardly any movie is making money right now. Yes, some cheap horror movies like Universal’s “Halloween Kills” still enjoy healthy profit margins, but the business that is re-emerging from its COVID slumber still has a lot of ground to make up.

Complicating matters further is the fact that the pandemic struck just as media companies like Comcast, Disney, Viacom CBS, and WarnerMedia were launching their own streaming services. To compete with Netflix, these companies canceled licensing agreements with cable and broadcaster companies, depriving them of millions of dollars in wildly profitable license fees. In some cases, it has paid off. Disney shares surged during the pandemic as Disney Plus continued to add subscribers, helping the conglomerate cushion the blow of having its theme parks closed and its cruise ships in dry dock. But it has resulted in short-term revenue depletion in favor of long-term growth.

But what can film companies do?

For movies that cost between $ 100 million and $ 200 million, it has become a Catch-22. Studios can release a movie knowing that making a profit has become unrealistic, or they can continue to delay, delay the delay and risk a total collapse of the industry. MGM and United Artists Releasing, the company behind the latest version of Bond, and their rivals decided not to launch “No Time to Die” and other key stores like “Shang-Chi and the legend of Disney’s ten rings and” Venom: Sony’s Let “There Be Carnage” in the theater in 2021, Hollywood may have found itself without a movie-showing industry on the other end of COVID. Simply put, movie theaters could not survive if Hollywood chose the latter, more fiscally conservative approach. It’s not entirely altruistic for companies that make and distribute movies. Many of these titles were postponed from their initial 2020 release dates, and continually delaying them creates additional expense for the studios, not to mention the reality that some of the films would feel stale after years on the shelf. In a way, it’s like an investment in movie theaters, whose overtime will bring in billions more for Hollywood studios. But maintaining long-awaited store masts, the kind that demand to be seen on the big screen and require gargantuan box office receipts to turn a profit, carries obvious risks; studios will not be able to achieve the ticket sales necessary to achieve profitability as long as the market remains impaired.

Compared to star Daniel Craig’s previous 00 outings, “No Time to Die” has already made more money globally than 2006’s “Casino Royale” ($ 616 million worldwide) and “Quantum of Solace”. 2008 ($ 589 million). It is below its two predecessors, “Skyfall” with its loot of $ 1.1 billion and “Specter” with its account of $ 880 million. At the domestic box office, his total ranks as the lowest Bond with Craig at the center, but the franchise’s global popularity softened that blow.

In an attempt to mitigate theatrical losses, “No Time to Die” moved to premium video-on-demand platforms after 31 days in theaters, where industry experts believe it is thriving. Unlike gross box office revenue, where studios split revenue evenly with theater owners, companies like MGM keep about 80% of the money from digital transactions. Although its theatrical window has been a frame shorter than previous Bond films, it is a noticeably longer period of exclusivity on the big screen than Disney and Warner Bros. ‘”Black Widow” and “Cruella.” which landed on broadcast platforms the same day as its theatrical releases. Despite the alarms that the studios will abandon the theatrical widow entirely, the length of time that films are screened exclusively in theaters is vital to subsequent revenue. After Warner Bros. posted its entire 2021 roster on HBO Max on the same day it made its theatrical debut, the studio learned the hard way that companies benefit from theater-only windows because more is earned with premium VOD. and other auxiliary markets.

When “No Time to Die” was given the green light, many of these new streaming services were still in their early stages, the global box office was booming, and the biggest movies had exclusive runs of nearly three months. Bond’s longtime home of study, MGM / UA, was an independent operator; it is now about to be taken over by Amazon. Clearly, a lot has changed, including the economics behind making successful movies. But one thing has remained eerily prescient about the Bond sequel. In “No Time to Die,” 007’s shadowy adversary Lyutsifer Safin does not wield a nuclear bomb or kidnap a world leader to bring global superpowers to their knees. His weapon of choice is a biological weapon with the ability to infect his victims in a similar way to a virus. Turns out that kind of contagion can be the deadliest and most disturbing force of all.

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