Daniel Craig's final performance as James Bond is finally here.
After three theatrical delays in over a year and a half, MGM and Universal's "No Time to Die" makes its official U.S. debut on Friday following a monster opening weekend performance overseas.
The film grossed $121 million at the international box office last week. $35 million of that total haul came from British and Irish markets, making "No Time to Die" the most successful opening weekend performance for a Bond film in the U.K., as well as the biggest theatrical release since the start of the pandemic.
The strong overseas performance, coupled with higher-than-expected advance ticket sales here in the U.S. have added to box office optimism, with analysts anticipating the film to top $100 million in its domestic debut.
Currently, Sony’s "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" has the highest pandemic-era opener, grossing $90.1 million domestically.
"I think 'Bond' has really been a representation of so many movies that were delayed throughout the pandemic. A lot of hype has gone into this, a lot of interest ... In some ways, this movie has gotten a lot more attention than it probably would have before the pandemic," Shawn Robbins, Box Office Pro's chief analyst, told Yahoo Finance.
The analyst went on to compare the excitement surrounding "No Time to Die" to the anticipation of 2012′s "Skyfall," which debuted during the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film series and featured the massively popular title track by Adele.
So far, "Skyfall" holds the record for the most successful Bond film with an impressive opening weekend debut at over $88 million domestically.
Box office risks persist despite optimism
Despite increased confidence from analysts, potential risks could still derail the film's $100 million target.
Box Office Pro's Robbins said one of the most fickle determinants will be how much of the film's older, target audience will show up to theaters "because they've been the ones that have been the slowest to come back."
"It's really hard to pinpoint a specific projection and call it the definitive because we have to see something that hasn't happened yet — and that's adults over the ages of 35 and 40 returning [to cinemas] in waves," he continued.
Robbins added that it's important to note that the film does not have to hit $100 million right away in order to be a box office blockbuster.
"It could honestly do around $80 million and still be massively successful because it likely won't be nearly as front-loaded as a comic book movie [like 'Venom']," he explained.
Still, solid pre-sale tickets are "one of the factors playing into the assessment that maybe ['No Time to Die's'] potential, its ceiling at the box office might be higher than we previously thought during the pandemic — there's a lot of momentum building here," the analyst said.
Overall, a successful James Bond opener will help theaters breathe a much needed sigh of relief following a rocky year of pandemic shutdowns and hurdles — due, especially, to the film's theatrical-only release strategy.
"It's that next kind of movie that will hopefully bring back some of the audience that isn't there yet," Robbins said.
"Being only in theaters is going to be a major way to do that," he concluded.
Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193