A new James Bond film is always a major event in the UK, but the launch on Thursday of No Time To Die will be the biggest cinema release since the coronavirus pandemic began 18 months ago.
Ticket sales are expected to be brisk, not least because the film marks Daniel Craig’s farewell to 007 after a record 15 years playing the world’s most famous secret agent.
But what are the numbers the film needs to beat in order to become a box office hit?
One number should be well within reach: the £20.2 million taken by Peter Rabbit 2, which is currently the UK’s top grossing film so far this year.
No Time To Die could beat this within days.
More of a challenge will be matching the success of previous Bond movies, some of which are among the UK’s highest grossing films of all time.
Skyfall (2012), Daniel Craig’s third outing as Bond, is the big one.
This took a mighty £125.9 million at the UK box office – more than any other 007 film to date and enough to rank it as the UK’s third highest grossing film since records began.
Close on its heels is Spectre (2015), which took £110.3 million and is currently the fifth biggest film in UK box office history.
Some way behind is 2006’s Casino Royale (£77.8 million) and 2008’s Quantum Of Solace (£67.9 million).
It means the top four highest grossing 007 films in the UK all feature Craig in the lead role.
Then comes The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979), both of which starred Sir Roger Moore as James Bond and which took £67.0 million and £55.9 million respectively.
All figures have been compiled for the PA news agency by the British Film Institute and have been adjusted for inflation to 2021 prices.
Comparable UK box office data begins in 1975 – which means no films starring the original 007, Sir Sean Connery, make it into the chart.
Pierce Brosnan’s best showing is for 2002’s Die Another Day, the UK’s seventh highest grossing Bond film (£55.5 million), while Timothy Dalton manages 14th place with 1987’s The Living Daylights (£21.5 million).
An early sign of how well No Time To Die is performing will be the amount of money it takes during its first few days of release.
The film will enjoy a four-day “opening weekend” from September 30 to October 3.
Spectre took £41.3 million on its debut in 2015 – but this was made up of £21.3 million from four days of preview screenings, then £20.0 million across its official three-day opening weekend.
Skyfall took £20.2 million on its three-day opening weekend in 2012, while Quantum Of Solace took £15.4 million over three days in 2008.
An opening weekend of at least £20 million for No Time To Die could mean the film has a decent chance of eventually joining Craig’s other 007 films at the top of the Bond box office chart.
If it does exceptionally well, it could even end up challenging 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens (£140 million and counting) for the honour of the UK’s highest grossing film of all time.