On Tuesday, celebrities and royals walked the red carpet in central London for the much-anticipated world premiere of the latest James Bond thriller, “No Time To Die.”
After being continuously postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, British star Daniel Craig‘s fifth and final adventure in the blockbuster franchise finally hits theaters.
Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as Prince William and Kate, are expected to attend the premiere at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall.
It’s part of a backlog of blockbuster films held back by distributors throughout the pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on theaters and forced some new films to be streamed.
The release will be in cinemas only, with struggling theatres hoping Bond will lure back crowds.
“There’s a great deal of expectation surrounding this film,” Craig acknowledged ahead of the premiere, saying he wanted “hopefully to give the industry some sort of boost”.
“Cinema is here to stay as far as I’m concerned and if we can help in some way, I’ll be very happy,” he added.
Vue Entertainment, the UK branch of the cinema operator Vue International, hailed the movie’s release as “the cinematic event of the year”.
It will go on general release in Britain on Thursday and in the United States on October 8 — a year and a half behind schedule.
In the film, reportedly costing $250 million (£182 million, 214 million euros), Bond returns to active service after retirement, vowing: “I have to finish this.”
He deploys his trademark hi-tech gadgets in spectacular scenery in Italy and Norway while battling the villainous Safin, played by Oscar-winner Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”).
“I get shot and then I get blown up. It feels like James Bond to me,” Craig said in an official podcast.
With Craig bowing out, calling the role “a massive part” of his life, speculation has mounted over who will inherit his fabled license to kill.
Craig, 53, has held onto the role longer than any of his predecessors since his 2006 debut in “Casino Royale”.
He has won praise for adding depth and emotional complexity to the all-action role, but only reluctantly agreed to one final appearance as Bond.
After “Spectre” in 2015, Craig told Time Out magazine he would rather “slash his wrists” than reprise the role but recently apologised for appearing flippant.
Emmy-winning US filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga directed the new film, becoming the first American to helm the franchise.
His previous films include a 2011 adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre”.
The Bond films are based on a character created by upper-class British writer Ian Fleming in novels published in the 1950s and 1960s.