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No Time To Die was one of the first theatrical movies to bump its release date in response to the current events that saw major theater chains closing down in the interest of public safety. This move gave the film an opportunity to be a more traditional James Bond film by opening in the franchise’s usual November release slot, which is fitting for Daniel Craig’s final stint in the role. However, with a recent change-up putting the film in an earlier debut slot than intended, it looks like one thing is clear: Daniel Craig is going to have to fight a little harder to become king of the Thanksgiving box office.
I say this thanks to the inspiration of one Forbes article where, upon reflecting on the new November 20 release date, their columnist noted that No Time To Die was leaving a surefire Thanksgiving weekend record on the table for anyone else to claim. But looking a little deeper into this particular subject, I noticed an even greater possibility is being passed up, as Craig’s success with Knives Out last year could have helped make him a fixture of that particular holiday, if only the 25th Bond movie had decided to take the ball further into the end zone.
The last clear time I can think of anyone being crowned the champion of any sort of holiday is, of course, that span of time between 1996 and 1997 when Will Smith opened both Independence Day and Men In Black on 4th of July weekend. With two smash hits in back-to-back years on the same holiday weekend, Smith was known as the blockbuster king of 4th of July; and since director Rian Johnson’s whodunnit was a hell of a hit that just happened to open on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a new king could have been crowned for an entirely different holiday.
Were No Time To Die to have stuck to its November 25 guns, it would have not only potentially crushed the Thanksgiving weekend record with Daniel Craig’s 007 swan song, it could have in turn given Johnson’s next Benoit Blanc film a cozy release date to stake out before anyone else caught wise. Any future Daniel Craig film for the foreseeable future could have taken that spot without question, and the market would have been forced to bow to the whims of his charm and box office reputation.
But alas, for some strange reason, five days were a crucial enough gap that the studio felt it had to close, and No Time To Die sits in its current release frame. Maybe there was some sort of behind-the-scenes calculation that made the move a wise one, or maybe EON Productions was trying to help ease the pain for US audience waiting for the next James Bond adventure. It’s not clear to the naked eye, but whatever the reason, this business decision will make it a little harder for Daniel Craig to claim Thanksgiving weekend his own, unless this year’s Bond film somehow crushes it harder in its second weekend. Which is definitely doable, but that has just a little less of a punch than delivering that weekend a strong opening blow.
No Time To Die is set to open in theaters on November 20; that is, unless Universal and MGM decide they want to walk back this most recent bump and give Daniel Craig a firm footing for his 007 retirement to take off on.