MGM/Eon/Universal’s No Time To Die brought James Bond to China today, with an RMB 52M ($8.1M) No. 1 opening (including a smattering of Thursday midnights). This is the third biggest Hollywood opening day of 2021 in the market and is ahead of the launch days of the most recent comps Dune (+33%) and Free Guy (+53%). With a great social score, No Time To Die is now looking at a China bow in the $30M range.
However, this week has seen the most widespread Covid outbreak in China since the beginning of the pandemic. Approximately 13% of the market shut down, with further closures in Beijing today — the city has gone into high alert overnight with all cinemas in the Western District ordered to shut tomorrow and other districts may follow. There are already lockdowns in the northern cities (affecting 6.5% of the box office).
Daniel Craig’s final turn as 007 has a strong 8.9 audience score on Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan. That’s the highest ever given to a Bond film (Skyfall and Spectre both received an 8), It’s also on par with Disney/20th Century Studios’ Free Guy which went on to do just under $95M in the Middle Kingdom. Warner Bros/Legendary’s Dune, which has grossed an estimated $29.2M locally through today, carries a 7.9. In terms of critical scores, NTTD currently has a 7.1 on Douban which is equivalent to Skyfall’s number and above that of Spectre. Dune is at 7.9; Free Guy had a 7.6.
After just one day of release, Maoyan is projecting a final for NTTD of RMB 499.1M ($80M). At historical rates, Spectre grossed $83.5M in China while Skyfall did $59.3M.
The market has lately been dominated by local propaganda blockbuster The Battle At Lake Changjin which has grossed about 5.4B ($844M) through today. Along with Dune, NTTD is one of the only recent Hollywood movies to release close to its domestic launch.
The Cary Joji Fukunaga-directed 25th James Bond movie began its international box office rollout in the UK on September 30 and released in 54 combined Universal and MGM markets during that frame, grossing $121.3M. It later traveled to North America and has now grossed a running $530M worldwide (this does not include China’s Friday).
We’ll have more updates throughout the weekend.