The star-studded “Spectre” cast graced a skeleton-themed red carpet in Mexico on Monday as the new James Bond movie, partly shot here, made its Mexican debut on the Day of the Dead. Bond actor Daniel Craig, Italian beauty Monica Belucci and Austrian star Christoph Waltz, who plays the villain, were greeted by a jubilant crowd - some in the typical Catrina skeleton makeup - at the capital’s National Auditorium. As Mexicans celebrated their traditional Day of the Dead November 1-2 holiday, giant skeleton couple and skulls towered over the red carpet. The opening sequence of the movie is set during a celebration of the religious day in Mexico City’s historic center, with a spectacular helicopter action scene. “To have a movie premiere of a movie that starts at the Day of the Dead, on the Day of the Dead, it is somewhat fitting, wouldn’t you say?” Waltz said. Producer Barbara Broccoli said the film’s opening sequence “is one of the most important scenes in the film.” “It’s the pre-title sequence. Traditionally, they are pretty tough to beat and I think we really have beaten all the ones before with this sequence,” she said. Bond girl Lea Seydoux praised the movie’s global appeal.

“Because it’s an iconic movie, known all around the world, it’s nice to see this enthusiasm and to see that (the movie) touches, in a way, all cultures and all generations,” the French actress said.

The film directed by Sam Mendes made its world premiere in London on October 26. It opens in Mexican and US theaters at the end of the week. “We filmed the Day of the Dead sequence, it was a fantastic experience and now we come back on the Day of the Dead to have our opening, and it’s fantastic. It just is a great celebration,” said co-producer Michael Wilson.

The filming of the Mexico City scenes was marked by some controversy, with reports that the government was worried that the villain would be Mexican, hurting the reputation of a country whose image has been hurt by drug violence. Producers denied reports that the script was changed at the request of executives from Sony Pictures and MGM Studios, eager to save money after the government offered $14 million in tax incentives in return for a better image.

The website, citing leaked Sony emails, had reported that the changes included that an international leader should be assassinated instead of Mexico City’s mayor, and that Bond’s nemesis should not be Mexican. While Wilson said in a March press conference that the authorities had raised some concerns, he denied that the screenplay was changed because the bad guy was always going to be Italian.