“No Time to Die” is a done deal. United Artists has informed domestic exhibitors when tickets can go on sale (Friday, September 17 at 9 a.m. ET), when shows can start (Thursday, October 7 at 4 p.m.), and the film’s final running time (163 minutes). IMAX-equipped locations will have an additional advance initial show on the evening of Wednesday, October 6.
It’s the final act in an 18-month saga that began March 4, 2020 when Eon Prods., along with distributors United Artists (domestic) and Universal (foreign)announced that the Bond movie would move from April to November 2020. That began a cycle of schedule revisions, with the final plan of October 8 in North America and September 29-October 1 in most other territories.
For high-expectation films like “No Time to Die,” studios provide early information to theaters and permit early sales while locking in commitments on premium screens. Also eyeing those screens is Sony and Marvel’s “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” which was initially set for September 24 and moved to October 15. Earlier this week, after the huge opening for Disney/Marvel release “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Dragons,” “Venom” moved to October 1.
This sets up a conundrum. “No Time To Die” is expected to take priority for the best screens — the same screens coveted by “Venom.” When the Tom Hardy film vacated its initial date, that cost them clear access for two weeks on IMAX and similar large-scale formats. Theaters must assign specific screens before they sell tickets, so they need to decide before next Friday who plays where.
Had Sony stuck with its initial September 24 date, it would be guaranteed two weeks on premium screens; now, Sony has gotten in its own way. Another awkward note: Sony released all prior Daniel Craig 007 films, and will open “Venom” in much of the world on the same date as “No Time To Die.”
The 163-minute runtime confirms the rumor that “No Time To Die” is the longest Bond film in the franchise’s history. The 2015 “Spectre” was 148 minutes, with “Skyfall” and “Casino Royale” both over 140 minutes.
Bond films are usually among the years’ top worldwide grossers, although domestic usually accounts for about a quarter of those totals — much lower than what Marvel and other blockbusters. That said, United Artists will do everything it can to maximize domestic results.