A couple weeks ago, No Time to Die crossed a major milestone: It became Hollywood’s top grosser of the pandemic era. (It wasn’t the world’s biggest moneymaker. Two films from China, The Battle at Lake Changjin and Hi, Mom, have both Hoovered up more.) But the news isn’t all good. It was already known that the latest Bond — and Daniel Craig’s final spin with the spy — would have to make an obscene amount of money to turn a profit. And a new report points out it still hasn’t gotten there.
As per Variety, No Time to Die’s current international tally is a whopping $735 million, $155 million of that from the United States. Hooray! Problem is, it cost more than $250 million to produce, plus at least another $100 million to promote. And therein lies the rub:
Insiders say “No Time to Die” needs to make closer to $900 million to break even, a feat that would have been realistic had a global health crisis not entirely upended the theater industry. As a result, the film now stands to lose $100 million in its theatrical run, according to sources close to production. Other industry sources suggest the losses wouldn’t quite reach the nine-figure mark though they would still be substantial.
But one group is disputing the argument that the top-grossing Hollywood film of 2021 is a money-loser: MGM, the studio who produced it. In a statement to Variety, they called the news “categorically unfounded and put more simply, not true,” saying the movie “has far exceeded our theatrical estimates in this timeframe.” They also point out the film, released worldwide in October, is still in theaters, and is still in the box office Top 10 in North America, to say nothing of the PVOD release doing well as well.
Of course, even to argue whether a Bond movie, which has outgrossed a Fast and Furious installment, is a money-loser or not is a grim reminder of what the pandemic has done to the moviegoing experience. Adult audiences, the Bond franchise’s core demographic, are still reluctant to return to theaters. Meanwhile, even Marvel movies, including Shang-Chi and Eternals, are underperforming, at least relative to the bounty they regularly raked in back in the before-time.