A decade ago this month, the 20th James Bond movie, Die Another Day premiered. In hindsight, what was going on behind the scenes was more interesting than the movie itself.
The film turned out to be actor Pierce Brosnan’s final turn as 007. The actor, in publicizing the movie, indicated that producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli wanted him back for a fifth appearance. The co-bosses of Eon Productions, however, may have been undergoing a creative mid-life crisis.
In interviews years after Die Another Day came out, Wilson and Broccoli described the early 2000s as personally frustrating. “I was desperately afraid, and Barbara was desperately afraid, we would go downhill,” Wilson TOLD THE NEW YORK TIMES IN OCTOBER 2005. Apparently, the duo felt at this point they were still carrying the flame for Albert R. Broccoli, the co-founder of Eon. “We need to generate something new, for ourselves,” Wilson told the Times in ’05.
In any case, Die Another Day was the end not only of Brosnan’s run but of the series that had begun 40 years earlier. When Bond next appeared onscreen, in 2006’s Casino Royale, Eon would start over with an entirely different continuity and a new Bond, Daniel Craig.
Die Another Day contained numerous references to the 007 series, including a sequence where Brosnan-Bond and Q (John Cleese) are in a storage area of gadgets, including the Thunderball jet pack. Q gives Bond a watch with a laser beam (Bond’s 20th watch, we’re told). Halle Berry as Jinx, a U.S. operative, made an entrance in a bikini, modeled after Ursula Andress’s first appearance in Dr. No.
The movie also suffers from personality disorder. The first half is more or less serious (with bits of humor) and a de facto adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Moonraker novel. The second half veers into fantasy with an invisible car and Bond barely staying ahead of a tidal wave.
At the box office, Die Another Day was a hit, with almost $432 million in worldwide ticket sales, a 19 percent jump from 1999’s The World Is Not Enough. In the U.S. and Canada, the 20th 007 film sold $167.4 million in tickets, a 27 percent increase from the previous 007 entry. But that didn’t prevent the abrupt end of the Brosnan era.
Filed under: James Bond Films Tagged: | Albert R. Broccoli, Barbara Broccoli, Casino Royale, Daniel Craig, Die Another Day, Die Another Day's 10th anniversary, Eon Productions, Halle Berry, James Bond Films, John Cleese, Michael G. Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, The World Is Not Enough