No Time To Die is poised to give cinemas around the country the biggest opening since 2019, as ticket sales boom ahead of the release of the blockbuster.
The highly-anticipated James Bond film, which will be Daniel Craig’s final outing in the role, will be released on Thursday following a glittering world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday evening, attending by members of the royal family.
Cinema chain Odeon said it has already sold more than 175,000 tickets for the film in the two weeks since they went on sale and expects the film to be the biggest since the summer of 2019.
Meanwhile, Cineworld, which closed the doors to its cinemas when the film was delayed again last year, said it has already sold out a number of screenings.
Vue cinemas have sold more than 270,000 tickets in advance of the release and are expecting the film to be their biggest since the Star Wars instalment The Rise Of Skywalker in December 2019.
The film suffered multiple release delays because of the coronavirus pandemic but bosses resisted calls for it to be made available to watch at home.
The cast and creatives have since stressed they hope it will provide a shot in the arm to multiplexes that are yet to rebound from months of closure.
Odeon said some 40% of tickets are going to patrons who are returning to the cinema for the first time since they re-opened following pandemic closures, with more than a third bought by film fans over the age of 46.
A statement from the chain said: “The film has seen the strongest level of demand from an older audience for over 18 months, showing the enduring popularity of everyone’s favourite spy.”
Carol Welch, managing director of the Odeon Cinemas Group UK and Ireland said: “We are extremely excited that Bond is finally returning to the big screen, another significant milestone as our industry continues to demonstrate resilience in its recovery.
“The popularity of this film franchise has seen even those previously reluctant to return to the cinema book their tickets.
“We are thrilled so many guests will be able to experience this at one of our Luxe sites, where we have spent over £70 million on refurbishments in the last few years.
“Our continued investment across the estate, the upcoming film slate and the strong consumer demand to return to the big screen give us enormous confidence in the future of cinema.
“We are absolutely delighted to be able to re-immerse ourselves back into the community, providing a much-loved pastime, an entertaining experience and a chance to escape from reality.”
Cineworld, which closed 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse sites shortly after it was announced the film was being pushed back to April 2021, will screen the movie in all 100 cinemas it currently has open.
The chain said No Time To Die is now the best-selling film on pre-release bookings since Marvel’s Avengers Endgame in April 2019, with only two films – the superhero blockbuster and The Last Jedi – selling more tickets in their opening 24 hours in the past five years.
The branches in Sheffield and at London’s O2 arena will be offering around 50 showings a day of the film.
A statement said: “We are the only place in the UK where customers will be able to experience the film in 4DX, a multi-sensory extreme cinema format where you’ll be shaken and stirred in your seat, as well as ScreenX, where additional footage is extended onto the side walls of the auditorium, surrounding the audience with a mesmerising 270 degree viewing experience.
“This will in fact be the first Bond film to show in 4DX and ScreenX, and we will also be showing the film in IMAX, Superscreen and VIP so that customers can choose the best way that they want to experience Bond.”
A spokesperson for Vue added: “We have sold over 270,000 tickets in pre-sales.
“Based on our sales, we expect No Time To Die to be the biggest film in the UK and Ireland since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker back in December 2019.”
The top grossing film of the year so far in the UK is Peter Rabbit 2, which has amassed £20.2 million since its release in May, according to figures provided to the PA news agency by the BFI.
Marvel’s Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings posted the biggest three-day opening in the pandemic era in the UK with £5.8 million.
No Time To Die is released in UK cinemas on September 30.