'Amazing' response to James Bond film as Mansfield's Odeon bounces back after Covid
He’s saved the world plenty of times. Now can James Bond save the film and cinema industry?
That’s the question being asked as the latest 007 blockbuster, delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, opens across the country.
And the answer is a resounding yes in Mansfield, where the response to ’No Time To Die’ at the Odeon Cinema complex has been “amazing”, according to new manager Nathan Hannah.
"We rolled out the red carpet for the first showing at midnight last night,” said Nathan, 32. “And all the staff have had their tuxedos on to get in the mood.
"Bookings are going great. The film is a huge opportunity for people to come back to the cinema for the first time after Covid.
"We’re attracting a wide variety of clientele too because the film spans all generations. People are coming with their sons and daughters.”
‘No Time To Die’ is the 25th Bond movie and expected to be the final fling of Daniel Craig as the iconic hero.
Considering the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the film industry over the last 18 months, it is just what the doctor ordered to tempt people back to the cinema.
"It’s all right watching films on the TV at home, but you can’t beat the big screen and the atmosphere at a cinema,” said Nathan.
Nathan, who lives in Mansfield, joined Odeon in 2018, having previously worked in the pub and restaurant trade. And he was appointed boss of the state-of-the-art, eight-screen behemoth at Mansfield Leisure Park during lockdown last December.
He oversaw the cinema’s re-opening in May and says he is “proud and massively pleased” with the way things have gone since.
"When we first re-opened the doors, we were trepidatious, but we soon found that people really wanted to return.
"Our numbers are not back to pre-pandemic levels yet, but we are on an incline and, slowly but surely, it’s feeling like normal.”
Now 007 is expected to give the Odeon revival another push, with no fewer than 94 screenings planned over the next four days alone, including some on the cinema’s monster Imax screen, which is six times bigger than a regular screen.
Carol Welch, managing director of Odeon Cinemas Group UK, said: “We are extremely excited for Bond to be back on our screens. It is set to be the biggest opening at Odeon Cinemas since the summer of 2019.
“We have taken more than 380,000 advanced sales across the UK and Ireland, and more than 40 per cent of those are people returning to the cinema for the first time since the pandemic.
"It is also brilliant to see audiences of all ages. More than one-third of tickets have been purchased by people over the age of 46.”
Back in Mansfield, Nathan added: "There’s a lot of excitement around the Bond film, and Imax is a huge selling-point.
"We’re putting bums on seats again, and I think we’re in for a busy weekend!”