Despite good ticket sales for the new James Bond and “Fast & Furious” films, Universal Pictures chairperson Donna Langley does not see a return to normalcy in the box office anytime soon.
Analysts believe the box office is still highly unstable, and one of the apocalyptic predictions regarding the pandemic’s long-term influence on theatergoing has come true: The only films getting significant attention in theatres are big-budget franchise blockbusters. For the time being, the audience for smaller dramas and comedies appears to be content with home viewing, either through video on demand or streaming platforms.
“Superhero, action, and horror films are doing well in cinemas, especially when they are presented exclusively and not simultaneously available on streaming,” said David A. Gross, the founder of Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultant. “However, some parts of the business remain unavailable.” Dramas, character-driven pictures, and art-house flicks were already under jeopardy before the outbreak, and the stakes will be considerably greater now.”
According to Comscore, “No Time to Die,” touted as the 25th entry in the Bond franchise and starring Daniel Craig in his fifth and last appearance as 007, grossed an estimated $56 million from 4,407 cinemas in the United States and Canada. According to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and its foreign distribution partner, Universal Pictures International, “No Time to Die” earned an extra $257 million in limited release worldwide. (Amazon paid $8.5 billion for MGM this year.)
Analysts believe that due to the epidemic, more viewers are deferring ticket purchases until the last minute, making it harder for studios to anticipate how a film will do. Domestic projections for “No Time to Die” varied from $36 million to over $70 million heading into the weekend, depending on which research organization was conducting the forecasting. The last instalment in the saga, “Spectre,” grossed $70.4 million in its first three days in North America in 2015.
The epidemic’s first big film to be affected was “No Time to Die,” which got positive reviews and an A-minus score from ticket purchasers in CinemaScore exit surveys. It was supposed to be released in theatres in April 2020. MGM and the franchise’s London-based producers, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, pushed back the release date to November 2020, then again to this month.
Because theatres keep about half of the overall ticket sales, MGM’s costly “No Time to Die” is unlikely to profit. The film is believed to have cost $250 million to produce and another $150 million to advertise globally. However, the picture sold enough tickets in its first three days in cinemas to be considered a success, thanks partly to enthusiasm from elderly ticket purchasers who had been avoiding theatres due to coronavirus fears.
According to Erik Lomis, president of distribution at United Artists Releasing, an MGM subsidiary, about 36% of the weekend audience in North America was over the age of 45, and approximately 57 per cent was over the age of 35. According to exit surveys, 25% of ticket buyers had not gone to a theatre in the previous 18 months, according to Mr Lomis.
“That is a really important transaction that demonstrates Bond’s power,” Mr Lomis added. “This film will remind many people how much fun it is to go to the cinema, which will hopefully benefit the entire business.” “A more mature audience is required to return.”