For a film spanning 163 minutes – the longest James Bond movie ever made – it takes serious dedication to watch it at a midweek midnight showing.
But the 007 fans outside Birmingham’s Odeon cinema on Wednesday night were excited to be among the first people to see the eagerly anticipated 25th Bond movie, No Time to Die, at a public screening.
“I’ve been waiting for it for so long. My parents are really into it too and have been sending me the trailers every time one comes out,” said 21-year-old Ethan Felton, one of many university students in the crowd.
“Because it’s been so long, it’s been over a year since it’s been delayed, I feel like everyone’s expectations are even higher and the pressure is on even more,” added his girlfriend, Isla Lee, a 26-year-old retail worker.
In the cinema’s lobby, the film’s poster has been there – advertising a variety of different release dates – since 2019. Originally scheduled for April 2020, the film was delayed three times because of the Covid crisis. It was the first big movie to fall victim to the pandemic as cinemas closed across the world, and its postponement was a big blow to cinema franchises.
“I was so excited to see it back in April 2020, I had plans and everything. Obviously, I understood why it got delayed but it’s good to finally see it,” said George Stephenson, 21, a Birmingham City University student.
“I’m French and it feels like a really British thing to be here and experience it, I can say to my grandkids I was there,” laughed Claire Cortambert, 26, who works in the construction industry. She had been to a bar with her housemates to kill time before the start and was preparing herself for a 3am finish. “If it’s a good James Bond we should be kept awake.”
They were also preparing themselves for the end of the Daniel Craig era after his 15-year five-film stint in the Bond role.
“I watched all the Daniel Craig movies yesterday in preparation,” said Cameron Burrows, 21, an Aston University student. “But he’s done five movies now, he’s had his time, and it will be good to see who they pick next.”
There was plenty of speculation about who would take over the role in the next instalment, with most suggesting Tom Hardy or Idris Elba would be their preferred choice. “I think they’re too obvious,” said Stephenson. “The one idea that I’ve seen going around that I like is Henry Golding.”
Despite the painfully long wait, cinemagoers were glad they could enjoy the experience in relative normality now that Covid restrictions had eased.
“You wouldn’t have the same experience if it had come out during Covid. A lot of movies have come out over the past few months and they didn’t have as much of a reception as this,” said 26-year-old Aroon Reinoso.