Posts Tagged ‘Spy’

Premiere Dates & Box Office Earnings

June 20, 2009

I’ve compiled a list of Bond film premiere dates and Bond film box office earnings. Then, I summarized the relationships between them. It’s pretty interesting … check out the results:

*** Stats include domestic box office figures. All of the numbers used are adjusted for ticket price. No worldwide figures are included due to issues that would arise because of exchange rates.

[UK] PREMIERE DATES (By Month)

May:
A View To A Kill (22nd)

June:
Octopussy (6th)
You Only Live Twice (12th)
Licence To Kill (13th)
For Your Eyes Only (24th)
Moonraker (26th)
Live And Let Die (27th)
The Living Daylights (29th)

July:
The Spy Who Loved Me (7th)

September:
Goldfinger (17th)

October:
Dr. No (5th)
From Russia With Love (10th)
Quantum Of Solace (29th)

November:
The World Is Not Enough (8th)
GoldenEye (13th)
Casino Royale (14th)
Die Another Day (18th)

December:
Thunderball (9th)
Tomorrow Never Dies (12th)
Diamonds Are Forever (17th)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (18th)
The Man With The Golden Gun (19th)

BOX OFFICE EARNINGS (Highest to Lowest)

1. Thunderball: $453,095,866
2. Goldfinger: $394,367,777
3. You Only Live Twice: $262,186,956
4. Moonraker: $201,120,379
5. Die Another Day: $198,892,351
6. Tomorrow Never Dies: $196,009,738
7. From Russia With Love: $191,441,691
8. Diamonds Are Forever: $190,681,422
9. Casino Royale: $183,551,449
10. The World Is Not Enough: $179,420,403
11. GoldenEye: $175,670,569
12. Quantum Of Solace: $168,368,427
13. Octopussy: $154,754,344
14. The Spy Who Loved Me: $150,807,925
15. Live And Let Die: $143,519,092
16. For Your Eyes Only: $141,566,877
17. Dr. No: $135,719,190
18. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: $115,155,535
19. A View To A Kill: $101,790,071
20. The Living Daylights: $93,993,540
21. The Man With The Golden Gun: $80,523,508
22. Licence To Kill: $62,697,523

PREMIERE DATES v. BOX OFFICE EARNINGS (By Month)

May:
A View To A Kill (22nd) $101,790,071

June:

Octopussy (6th) $154,754,344
You Only Live Twice (12th) $262,186,956
Licence To Kill (13th) $62,697,523
For Your Eyes Only (24th) $141,566,877
Moonraker (26th) $201,120,379
Live And Let Die (27th) $143,519,092
The Living Daylights (29th) $93,993,540

July:
The Spy Who Loved Me (7th) $150,807,925

September:
Goldfinger (17th) $394,367,777

October:

Dr. No (5th) $135,719,190
From Russia With Love (10th) $191,441,691
Quantum Of Solace (29th) $168,368,427

November:

The World Is Not Enough (8th) $179,420,403
GoldenEye (13th) $175,670,569
Casino Royale (14th) $183,551,449
Die Another Day (18th) $198,892,351

December:

Thunderball (9th) $453,095,866
Tomorrow Never Dies (12th) $196,009,738
Diamonds Are Forever (17th) $190,681,422
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (18th) $115,155,535
The Man With The Golden Gun (19th) $80,523,508

OVERALL MONTHLY SUMS

January – April: N/A

May: $101,790,071

June: $1,059,838,711

July: $150,807,925

August: N/A

September: $394,367,777

October: $495,529,308

November: $737,534,772

December: $1,035,466,069


OVERALL MONTHLY SUMS: RANKED HIGHEST TO LOWEST

  1. June: $1,059,838,711
  2. December: $1,035,466,069
  3. November: $737,534,772
  4. October: $495,529,308
  5. September: $394,367,777
  6. July: $150,807,925
  7. May: $101,790,071
  8. January – April, August: N/A

Seems like the films launched in June and December have generated the most bank for EON Productions. November comes in at third. With these lists, I haven’t taken into consideration James Bond stars, seasons, or decades; therefore, you can expect more stats to come!

Special thanks to Karl Bennett and Box Office Mojo for their assistance with the numbers/statistics.

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James Bond, the white secret agent…

June 20, 2009

During the past few years, the ideas of a black actor portraying James Bond have been tossed around. I believe recent ideas like this were started during the casting of Bond #6, with Colin Salmon’s supposed candidacy. Since then, “actors” like Will Smith, P. Diddy, Taye Diggs, and Jamie Foxx, have stood up and claimed they wanted to play James Bond.

Some may argue that the idea of James Bond being portrayed strictly by white actors is a racist idea. Some may also claim that with this fresh, new era that we’re living in, everything is possible – after all, look at America and their new President, right? Perhaps they’d say it’s time for the producers to break the formula. There are even excerpts from Ian Fleming’s “Live and Let Die” in which one could draw-up a conclusion about the author’s prejudices. Advocates for a black James Bond could use this against the producers to press for a change. There are plenty of possibilities, really.

I’ll say, though, that the idea of Bond being white is not a racist idea. It’s simply to preserve the essence of the character, and the creativity of the legendary Ian Fleming. Making him into a black man would simply put Fleming to shame and put his character to shame. Why? Well, not just because he’s black. Simply because that’s just how Fleming wrote his character, and that should be respected.

It’s obvious that EON has thrown around Fleming’s works like confetti, as far as the EON Bond series goes. However, making Bond a black character would be the icing on the cake – as if falling houses, surfing tidal waves, and Blofeld in drag weren’t enough.

One who sides with the idea that Bond should simply be a white character is not racist either. If you turned this around and made a prominent black character into a white character, then that’s when people would be yelling “racism!”, also.

On the subject of Fleming’s use of derogatory words to represent black people, I think that’s just how the world worked back then. I think a lot of evidence proves that Fleming was no ignorant, white-trash, black-hater. The words “nigger” and “negroes” were often used through out the years before, and after, the publication of Fleming’s “Live and Let Die”. Hell – there’s a poster for the cinematic “Dr. No” that reads, “Featuring negro film star, John Kitzmiller”. And over time, the words like that, I believe, have evolved into something much more serious than many thought they were in the 50’s. Today, the media [and associated terrorist organizations] will blow you out of the water for ever saying the word “nigger”, even if it’s not used in a derogatory form. The only way you can get away with saying it is if you’re Oprah or Steven Spielberg.

I think people look too hard at this issue, and try to find any slight bit of evidence just to shout “racism!”. If the production team were to release more information regarding this issue to the media [and associated terrorist organizations], they would have a field day with it. Fleming — a man that I’m sure that many people have NEVER heard of before — would line the entertainment world, briefly. He’d be stepped on, and spat on by political activists or celebrity activists who think they know what’s going on in the world. “Racist” would no doubt pop up, and Fleming would be made out to look like the bad guy, just because he wrote Bond as a white character, and uses the word “nigger” in one of his novels. Following this, due to pressure from radicals, EON would have to cast a black actor as Bond, just to make themselves look good. If they didn’t, you’d have P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, Fifty Cent, Jamie Foxx, and Bill Smith all over the entertainment news world, claiming how “it’s just not right”.

I’m surprised this hasn’t happened already, as a matter of fact.

And if you want to call me a racist for this, then so be it.

Tell that to all of my black friends, too…

Film Review ::: Moonraker

June 19, 2009

“Moonraker” brings the fantasy of the James Bond films to a whole different level … a level that I don’t care much for.

The film’s story hardly resembles Fleming’s classic novel. As a matter of fact, it’s simply another lame rehashing of the story from “The Spy Who Loved Me” (courtesy of Christopher Wood) … which was essentially a rehashing of Roald Dahl’s story for “You Only Live Twice” – quite original, eh?

The characters don’t have much going for them. The most complex character of the film is probably James Bond, which is really no surprise. Roger Moore portrays him elegantly and humorously as he did in the past three films. Lois Chiles’ character, Dr. Molly Goodhead, is quite bland, to say the least. Michael Lonsdale portrays Hugo Drax in an interesting fashion, but hardly comes off as menacing or diabolical; he’s more or less a wealthy and extravagant nut case. “Jaws” unfortunately returns in this film and adds more ridiculous nonsense, also. However, this time around, the ingenious writer had the audacity to incorporate a half-witted love story amongst the metal-mouthed henchman and a petite, pig-tailed blonde named Dolly. By the end of the film, Jaws realizes that the odd couple isn’t fit for Drax’s superior race and rebels. This would’ve been a nice cash-in, made-for-TV, spin-off flick.

The greatest aspect of this James Bond film has to be John Barry’s score. If there’s one man behind-the-scenes of a Bond film who always does his job well, it’s John Barry. Somehow, Barry was able to add some sort of redeeming quality to even the cheesiest scenes of the film. One of his best pieces of music for the film is “Corinne Put Down”, which is played during Corinne’s death. The strings and winds really add emotion and depth to the scene. Shirley Bassey’s title track for the film was also great although it was wasted on such a shameful Bond film. The mellow and lovely style of the track really didn’t fit the style of the film. The locations of the film were admirable, also. Bond travels to California, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, and Brazil. The only undesirable location was outer space.

Overall, I think that “Moonraker” starts off just like the previous Moore films, however, it gets out of control as it moves on. It’s obvious that the success of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” films helped to blast this Bond film into outer space. However, while “Star Wars” succeeded as a science-fiction/action/adventure film, “Moonraker” failed as a science-fiction/action/adventure film. Actually, I’m not even quite sure what genre “Moonraker” falls under, as it’s more like a science fiction/action/adventure/espionage/comedy.

I think Bond films like this took the main character off of the path of “secret agent”, and took him onto the path of “generic action hero”. While a Bond film should have a sufficient amount of action, the character must never enter the realm of “generic action hero”. Bond is a trend-setter, not a trend-follower. Bond’s an elegant secret agent, but also a cold killer, if need be. James Bond isn’t a man who flies around outer space and blasts poison pods with lasers, as one would in a Space Invaders video game.

I think it’s safe to say that James Bond should wield his Walther PPK on planet Earth, rather than wielding a laser gun in outer space.

4.5 / 10

4.5 / 10

Top 5 – Quintessential Fleming Thrillers

June 19, 2009

Below I’ve listed the top 5 Bond films that qualify as quintessential Fleming thrillers. In my opinion, these five films capture the essence of Fleming’s novels and legendary characters.

I’ve provided a small blurb for each, regarding why I consider it to be “quintessential”.

1. From Russia With Love – Perhaps one of the finest Cold War thrillers ever made. The second film of the Bond series, and also my second-favorite. This features another cast of brilliant characters, with an even more interesting plot than “Dr. No”. This is not only a must-see Bond film, but also a must-see espionage film.

2. Dr. No – The first Bond film, and what I consider to be the best. This Bond flick is made in true Fleming fashion. It contains some great espionage and detective work, a wonderful cast of characters, and a solid plot.

3. The Living Daylights – Though Fleming was long-gone in 1987, “The Living Daylights” pays a wonderful tribute to the Bond author. Timothy Dalton’s portrays Fleming’s character brilliantly, in a great Cold War thriller. If you take your Bond seriously, this is surely the one for you.

4. For Your Eyes Only – Moore’s finest Bond flick. Most of the film is taken seriously. The only downfall is its score. Otherwise, the film proves to follow Fleming’s short story, “Risico”, quite well. Great characters, and a very down-to-Earth and interesting plot. This is certainly a fresh, new start, following Moore’s out-of-this-world adventure, “Moonraker”.

5. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – George Lazenby’s first and final Bond flick surely makes for a great Fleming thriller. Though I’m not keen on Lazenby’s acting, the other actors in the film make up for what he lacks — especially Diana Rigg. The film preserves many aspects of the novel and also features one of the best John Barry scores of all time. It’s surely a refresher from the over-the-top “You Only Live Twice” and takes a more realistic approach.

Licence To Kill — 20th Anniversary

June 19, 2009

Twenty years ago, “Licence To Kill” graced silver screens all over the world.

The 16th James Bond film premiered in the UK on June 13th, 1989. The US were given “Licence To Kill” a month later, on July 14th, 1989.

For me, “Licence To Kill” is a very important film, in regards to the world of Bond.

If you’ve read the “About” section of this blog, then you’ll know that “Licence to Kill was my first James Bond film experience. I was in 6th grade when I saw the film – around 11-years-old or so. I ended up taping it on TBS because it was aired past my bed time. The day later, which I believe was a Saturday, I watched the film, and became an instant fan of James Bond. From this point on, I began buying the films on VHS. My second film viewing was Dalton’s first adventure, “The Living Daylights”. Within months, my Bond film collection was complete, and I moved on to conquer the music of the Bond universe. On the topic of Bond music, during the past twenty years, composer of the “Licence To Kill” score, Michael Kamen, sadly passed away at the age of 55.

Coincidently, “Licence To Kill” was released not-too-far after my date of birth, also.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Licence To Kill”, I’ll be providing an in-depth review of it next month, on the anniversary of the film’s US premiere (July 14th).

Film Review ::: Live and Let Die

June 19, 2009

To start off, “Live and Let Die” has one of the worst pre-titles sequences in the history of Bond franchise. There’s not much to it; just a couple of deaths – one being brought upon by a fake-looking, rubber snake. In my opinion, the producers should’ve introduced Roger Moore’s James Bond with a little more flair, rather than having M and Moneypenny walk in on him while he’s fooling around with an “associate”.

In true cinematic James Bond fashion, the film hardly follows Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name. However, many will say that racism litters the film, as it supposedly does in Fleming’s novel, also. In both cases, my opinion is that those who say such things just need to get off their politically-correct high-horses.

The characters of this film aren’t as well written as the characters in “Diamonds Are Forever”, but they suffice. Roger Moore’s debut act as James Bond is surely memorable. He’s not quite the humorous Bond as he later turns out to be, yet he’s not 100% like Fleming’s Bond either. It’s definitely his own breed of Bond, and in this film, it works well. The seriousness of the character balances well with the humor and cheesiness of the film. Yaphet Kotto plays the “two-faced” villain, Dr. Kananga. I think this is the best performance of the film, as Kananga appears to be a menacing, unpredictable villain. Kananga’s henchmen are mediocre, though. We’re given Julius W. Harris’ “Tee-Hee”, who sports a mechanical arm, with a claw at the end. That’s about as interesting as he gets, and certainly doesn’t rank up there with Red Grant or Professor Dent. There’s also “Whisper”, played by Earl Jolly Brown. The character looms around in the background of most of Kananga’s scenes, and has a very low, near-inaudible voice. Jane Seymour’s portrayal of Solitaire isn’t anything special, but it works. She more or less plays a quiet, virgin, tarot card reader, and that’s about as deep as the character is. Throughout the film, you’ll also run into some annoying characters, such as Rosie Carver, and J.W. Pepper. Gloria Hendry’s portrayal of Rosie Carver is over-the-top. After a while, you may find yourself hoping for her death. Clifton James’ J. W. Pepper is a bit more tolerable, but that stereotypical “Billy Bob”/redneck/half-witted Southerner act gets old after a while. The shame is that EON will bring him back in the next film – “The Man With the Golden Gun”.

George Martin – famous for producing The Beatles albums – provides his first [and last] score for the Bond series. While the score isn’t the worst non-Barry Bond score, it certainly doesn’t rank up with Barry’s past scores, either. I do quite enjoy the motif that uses the film’s theme song, though. Regarding the theme song, which is performed by Paul McCartney and Wings, it has to be one of the best of the series. It’s very different from the past themes we were offered, and introduces the new Bond era in a rocking fashion. The vocals are great, and the instruments are fantastic. It’s an all-around awesome, memorable, and iconic James Bond theme.

As far as locations go, the EON team doesn’t fail to impress. James Bond travels to my stomping-grounds of New York, then to New Orleans, and to Jamaica, which doubles as the fictional country of San Monique. The locations in this film were quite admirable. I’d like to see Bond head to New York once more, actually.

I thought I’d mention that this film tends to mimick “Dr. No”, in a way. The scene in which Bond, Leiter, and Quarrel, Jr. are planning to infiltrate San Monique reminds me most of “Dr. No” – it’s very much like the scene in which Bond, Leiter, and Quarrel attempt to infiltrate Crab Key. I think it was a good homage to “Dr. No”, even if it wasn’t intended.

Overall, “Live and Let Die” works decently. There are plenty of cheesy aspects of the film, a lack of characterization in some areas, but a relatively down-to-Earth plot. The score was decent, and the locations were satisfying. Roger Moore does well in his debut Bond film, but I don’t think it ranks anywhere near Sean Connery’s debut. I think this is definitely one of Roger Moore’s better Bond films, though.

7.0 / 10

7.0 / 10

Mi6 Magazine ::: Issue #5 Press Release

June 18, 2009

BOND FEVER CONTINUES WITH MI6 DECLASSIFIED ISSUE #5
ISSUE #5 OUT NOW
(London, UK, April 27th, 2009) Bond Fever Continues! MI6 Declassified, the new full-colour magazine celebrating the world of 007, returns with its fifth issue. “Quantum of Solace” divided some fans and critics over its style and substance, but one fact is undeniable: 007 was back at the box-office in record-breaking form. With opening weekend tallies smashing historical highs almost everywhere he went, Bond Fever was rampant once again. MI6 Declassified #5 looks at how the 22nd film thrilled cities around the world and speaks to some of the creative talent behind the movie… and keep an eye out for an exclusive cut scene still!

Packed with an arsenal of fascinating features and eye-popping visuals, whether your passion is with the movies, books, comics or videogames, MI6 Declassified will satisfy your appetite for all aspects of the James Bond canon.
The fifth issue includes:

  • Premiere Bond – Coverage from Leicester Square for the “Quantum of Solace” debut
  • Around The World With 007 – Following the worldwide launch of the latest film
  • Box Office Bond – Bond Fever hits at cinemas as records are smashed
  • In Their Own Words – Cast and crew discuss making “Quantum of Solace”
  • Making ‘Another Way To Die’ – Jack White and Alicia Keys talk about the title song
  • John Gardner A Life In Literature – A tribute to the late continuation author including his last in-depth interview
  • Giving Bond His Booms, Bangs & Beeps – Interview with Oscar-winning sound editor Norman Wanstall
  • Zig Zag Comics – Uncovering the rare ‘60s series from South America
  • The Bond Connection – A unique look at the world through Fleming’s eyes in Thrilling Cities
  • The Last Word – Mya Harrison on singing and starring in Everything or Nothing

Issue #5 is now shipping around the world. To order online, visit www.mi6magazine.com

David Smith
Editor
editor@mi6magazine.com

Mi6 Magazine covers the making of  "Another Way to Die"

Mi6 Magazine covers the making of "Another Way to Die"

Around the World With 007

Around the World With 007

"Quantum of Solace" World Premiere

"Quantum of Solace" World Premiere

Norman Wanstall Interview

Norman Wanstall Interview

A Tribute to John Gardner

A Tribute to John Gardner

Issue #5 Cover Page

Issue #5 Cover Page

I’ll continue updating you whenever Mi6 Magazine releases a new issue.

Check it out!

Casting Bond #6 ::: Part One – Ewan Stewart

June 15, 2009

Essential Links:

Final Four James Bond #6 Candidates
24th July 2005

Following last week’s reports that the search for the next James Bond has been whittled down to a shortlist of four contenders, this weekend the British press revealed who the final four candidates are: Goran Visnjic (33), Henry Cavill (22), Alex O’Lachlan (28 ) and Ewan Stewart (47)

… These are the four heart-throbs battling it out to be the next James Bond…

EWAN STEWART AGED 47

SON of Scottish music hall legend Andy Stewart – who had a hit in 1961 and 1989 with Donald Where’s Yer Troosers. First found fame in late-70s TV drama All Quiet On The Western Front. Has also appeared in The Professionals, Only Fools And Horses and The Bill. Film-wise, starred as First Officer Murdoch in Titanic. Other major film credits include Coll in Rob Roy. Married to actress Clare Byam-Shaw.

If you’ll recall, the headlines of many major news sites (Bond and non-Bond) once read that Ewan Stewart was a strong contender for the role of James Bond #6.

Now that we’re two films into Daniel Craig’s Bond career, with another on its way, I thought it’d be fun and interesting to revisit the news leading up to the casting of James Bond #6.

Ewan Stewart was surely an interesting casting choice. The only similarity he seems to hold with past Bond actors is that he was 47-years-old at the time, which is only about a year or so off from the age in which Roger Moore started his Bond career. The difference, though, is that Sir Roger looked the part, and looked younger than he actually was. Ewan Stewart was severely balding at this point in his career. Also, had he been casted, it would’ve been another year until production wrapped up. At least Sir Sean Connery started his Bond career out with hair.

I’m not sure what the producers were thinking at this point. It must’ve been quite a pathetic and confusing time for them.

Maybe they wanted to kill Bond off?

After all, in a film like that, a balding, stocky, and nearly 50-years-old actor would’ve perhaps fit the part — maybe Bond could’ve died of a heart attack? Or a henchman could’ve sniped him, easily — the glare from that bald head would’ve been a dead giveaway.

Maybe they wanted to do a flash-back sequence; Stewart would’ve played a retired, balding James Bond in his later years, while the film would flash back to a younger Bond’s experience at Casino Royale? Maybe they would’ve thrown a shag, mop wig on Stewart’s head for the younger Bond scenes? Who knows?…

Either way, whether you’re a Craig fan or not, I think you should be thankful that this casting option was rejected. Though I’m not a fan of the new direction that the series has taken, this casting would’ve surely made the series into a confirmed laughing-stock.

Goran Visnjic, Henry Cavill,  or Alex O’Lachlan, however, may have made for a different story…

Stay tuned for Part Two.

Ewan Stewart - James Bond #6 Candidate

Ewan Stewart - James Bond #6 Candidate

Christopher Lee to be knighted…

June 13, 2009

You may know Christopher Lee as the actor who has played Count Dooku from Star Wars, Count Dracula, Fu Manchu, or even Lord Summerisle from The Wicker Man.He also played assassin Fransisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Well, you can soon consider him Sir Christopher Lee. And it’s about time.

Lee is one of the greatest actors still living today and it’s great that he was finally given this honor. I thought it was necessary to blog about this and congratulate him.

Currently, I’m in the process of getting his autograph for my office wall. I’ll keep you all updated.

*** Also, I might add that Jonathan Pryce (Elliot Carver of Tomorrow Never Dies) will receive an CBE, while Alan Cumming (Boris Grishenko of GoldenEye) will receive an OBE …

Peter Morgan to write Bond 23…

June 13, 2009

Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have verified that Peter Morgan will be penning the new Bond screenplay, alongside Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Morgan has won and been nominated for various awards for his work on Frost/Nixon, The Queen, and The Last King of Scotland, just to name a few.
Though it seems as if Morgan has the capabilites of writing a quality screenplay, I’m still worried about Purvis and Wade’s involvement. It’s good to have Paul Haggis out of the picture, though, as I don’t think he really contributed anything outstanding to the last two Bond pictures. I’m glad to know that EON is actually planning ahead this time, and choosing a writer from the get-go, instead of scrambling around like a chicken with its head cut off, moving from writer to writer as they did with Quantum of Solace.

Overall, I think Morgan has potential. Let’s hope he adds something fresh to the series, while keeping it Bondian. I’ll be disappointed if we get another generic Bond as Bourne action flick.