UPDATED with more details: It is finally time for No Time to Die as the 25th James Bond title has its world premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday evening. The glitzy, star-studded event welcomed 007 himself, Daniel Craig, for his swansong as the legendary secret agent, along with several fellow cast members and a quartet of royals. It’s been a long road to this premiere, which was originally due to take place in March 2020. But the pandemic quashed release plans for April that year and led to a handful more date changes along the way. Now, it’s time to rev up the Aston Martin.
The premiere is being held under alternating rain and clouds, but the event is the biggest, glitziest and most jam-packed premiere of the pandemic — certainly rivaling anything at the major film festivals that have taken place in the past 18 months. Indeed there’s been a sense in London over the past weekend that Bond is back.
“Just look at us and where we are,” Craig said onstage before the screening. “To amazing cast and crew, MGM, Universal, [producers] Barbara [Broccoli], Michael [G. Wilson]. A lot of front-line line workers here. [It’s] an honor for us — we’d like to dedicate this film to you this evening.”
From the red carpet, co-screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge promised that “Tonight is going to be sexy,” while star Rami Malek noted he didn’t hesitate to join the film — producer Barbara Broccoli even delivered the script to him personally in his hotel room. “When does that happen?!?” he said.
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, MGM/Eon/Universal’s No Time to Die begins international rollout this week, hitting the UK on Thursday with anticipation at a fever pitch — and projections of a $90 million opening weekend across 50 offshore markets through Sunday.
“We have all missed the experience of going to the cinema not just for the story but also to be thrilled,” Fukunaga said onstage. “I am thrilled to be sharing the 25th James Bond the way it was meant to be seen: on the big screen.”
Also in attendance tonight were screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, composer Hans Zimmer, and official song performers Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell. Cast members strolling the red carpet included Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Rory Kinnear, Ana de Armas, David Dencik and Dali Benssalah.
And members of the royal family were set to be out to show their support including Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
“Thank your highnesses for being here and making a special evening even more special,” Craig said.
Outside the venue, checks for proof of negative Covid tests at the entrances rigorous. Inside, however, there is no social distancing and very few zero masks — London in general seems fairly relaxed on that front.
This is Craig’s fifth and final film as 007 and sees the superspy having left active service, enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old CIA friend Felix Leiter (Wright) turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Tonight’s event will lead a series of premieres in 57 cities across the globe, including 10 in the UK and Ireland to which health care workers will be invited as special guests in celebration and gratitude of their work during the pandemic.
The London world premiere will benefit charities supporting serving and former members of the three intelligence agencies (the Secret Intelligence Service, the Security Service and GCHQ). The evening will also assist charities supporting past and present members of the United Kingdom Special Forces.