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James Bond’s Long Battle to Break-Even

James Bond
Courtesy of MGM
Matthew Belloni
October 7, 2021

I had lunch with a producer this week who casually spoiled the ending of No Time to Die. That’s a dick move under normal circumstances—we all know those people who spoil things simply as a flex to show they saw it early—but this one felt extra-dickish because obviously I’m planning to see this movie. Tomorrow afternoon, in fact.

I feel like we all are. My evidence is mostly anecdotal, but it’s backed up by NRG data showing two-thirds of people 45 and over are now comfortable going to theaters, up 14 points from August. Bond 25 may be the film that finally brings casual fans, Covid apprehensives, and Hollywood insiders back to the multiplex after a year and a half of streaming (and those precious screener links). Sure, there have been pandemic-era hits, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage’s $90 million domestic debut certainly indicated that young adults will show up, even for a schlocky sequel. But nobody in Hollywood actually cares about Venom: Let There Be Carnage. It’s not even name-brand Marvel; it’s Sony Marvel. I doubt Tom Rothman, the studio chief who greenlit the movie and whose bonus depends on its success, actually cares about Venom: Let There Be Carnage.