Cinema ticket sales for the latest James Bond movie were at levels not seen since 2019, setting up the film to be the biggest opening since the pandemic gripped the industry.
Odeon said today it has sold more than 175,000 tickets for No Time to Die, the latest instalment in the spy series set to hit the big screen this week.
Cineworld said ticket sales for the film - which is released on Thursday - marked its highest pre-selling film since Marvel's superhero movie Avengers: Endgame in 2019.
Cineworld also said there were already 'several sold out screenings'.
The movie, Daniel Craig's last outing as the special agent, was postponed three times from its originally planned April 2020 release as the coronavirus outbreak forced cinemas around the world to close.
The latest James Bond film - No Time To Die - will be Daniel Craig's final outing as the special agent
The latest James Bond film No Time To Die has presented cinemas with ticket sales not seen since 2019, before the pandemic gripped the industry
Cinema operators have been banking on the popularity of the decades-old Bond franchise to accelerate a revival in a sector which is trying to get back on its feet in the face of lingering concerns about coronavirus and competition from streaming services.
According to the latest figures, the new James Bond film is attracting older viewers in particular. AMC-owned Odeon said that more than one-third of the tickets were booked by people over the age of 46.
The company added that attendance at its UK venues this month was tracking 10% above pre-crisis levels, boosted by demand for the 25th Bond film.
Odeon said today it has sold more than 175,000 tickets for No Time to Die, the latest film in the James Bond series
Cineworld said ticket sales for the film - which is released on Thursday - marked its highest pre-selling film since Marvel's superhero movie Avengers: Endgame in 2019
'The release of a James Bond film is a big event in any year...but never more so after the last 18 months', UK Cinema Association head Phil Clapp said.
'It would be wrong to place the weight of expectation too much on the shoulders of one title,' he said, pointing out other movies in the coming months including science-fiction epic Dune, as well as sequels to the superhero movies Venom and Spider-Man.
No Time to Die opens in cinemas on Thursday September 30.