As production of No Time To Die heads into the endgame, the last few details are steadily snapping into space. Late last week it emerged that Johnny Marr, legendary guitarist and songwriter of The Smiths, was reuniting with Hans Zimmer on the score and opening up the mouthwatering prospect of a new version of the iconic James Bond Theme full of Marr’s signature fretwork, while over the weekend Billie Eilish waxed lyrical about her appreciation of the Bond franchise and spoke about how she and her brother have been trying to write a Bond theme song forever. At the same time, Zimmer spoke about how he and Eilish have become “pretty good friends” while working on the song, suggesting it’ll be tightly integrated into the score.
Speculation has now turned to the potential running time of No Time To Die. Yesterday Anton Volk (@antovolk) of Trailer-Track found that the Latvian distributor had revised their listing and was quoting the film running at 2 hours and 54 minutes, coincidentally the exact same running time as Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life currently playing UK cinemas and a whole 14 minutes longer than 2015’s SPECTRE. Casino Royale (2hrs 25mins) narrowly snatched the longest Bond film title from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (2hrs 22mins) but Bond films have rarely been exactly short: Dr. No ran to 2 hours back in 1962 and even Quantum Of Solace, the outright shortest Bond, still weighs in at 1 hour 47 minutes.
Bearing in mind that as recently as a couple of weeks ago director Cary Joji Fukunaga was still completing pick-up shots with principal cast and getting some additional helicopter footage, it’s questionable whether the film has yet reached picture lock, but it’s reasonable to assume that it’s been refined well past the assembly cut stage and is now near enough the final running time that any leak won’t be too far off the mark, especially as Fukunaga’s Instagram story this week finds him in the studio with Zimmer as they work on the score.
In practical terms the three-hour mark is no longer the barrier once assumed to blockbuster success: James Cameron’s pioneering work in the field with Titanic (3hrs 15mins) put the idea that long films didn’t sell to bed and Avengers: Endgame (3hrs 2mins) proved that duration is no barrier to fanbase turnout either. No Time To Die is following a similar model, banking on that pent-up demand for new Bond and promising to bring a conclusion to Daniel Craig’s tenure, turning the film into a must-see cinema event.
The ultimate limit may well prove to be the IMAX system. Large portions of the new Bond film were shot on film in true IMAX and will be projected accordingly on equipment which has been steadily upgraded from a limit of 45 minutes per print to 180 minutes, just over the 174 minutes mooted for No Time To Die. At this level the IMAX prints are huge: to date, the longest film projected in IMAX is Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar at 167 minutes, which weighed in at 600lb, to which a 174 minute No Time To Die would add an extra 25lb in thicc boi bragging rights.
All will become clear when advance ticket sales start, and it has now been confirmed that No Time To Die will have its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 31st where the great and goodwill gather on the red carpet once again.
Over to you: okay with a three-hour running time or worried about an ill-timed comfort break? Hyped for Johnny Marr’s take on the James Bond Theme? Got those premiere tickets locked and loaded? Sound off in the comments below.
As of this writing, No Time To Die will be released globally from April 2nd 2020 in the UK and April 10th 2020 in the USA.