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'Dune' offers clues to 'No Time To Die' potential in China

22-Oct-2021 • No Time To Die

With so few Western films opening widely in China since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anyone's guess as to how 'No Time To Die' would open in the most populous country in the world.  'Skyfall' made $59.3m in China back in 2012, whereas 2015's 'SPECTRE' grew its audience to $83.5m.

The distribution agreements for Western films in China means that the studio only takes home around 25% of the box office, compared to ~50% anywhere else. So studios really have to clock up the numbers quickly for it to be meaningful revenue given the promotional costs.

'Dune' opened in both China and the USA last night. It made $6.5m on 28,274 screens for a 34.3% market share in China. That is more than 9 times as many screens as it opened in the USA, where it made a similar amount: $5.1m. Warner Bros expects a $20m opening weekend in China for 'Dune,' and a total run of $31m in the country (Western films have a very short shelf life in China). IMAX accounted for 21% of its opening day revenue. For context, locally produced 'The Battle At Lake Changjin' made more than 'Dune' last night and it has been on release for over 3 weeks. 

These will be useful benchmarks for Bond watchers when 'No Time To Die' opens in China next week. Trade papers have been pumping Bond's potential in China as a key to making the film profitable, especially as it lagged behind expectations in the USA.

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