Bond 25 questions: Daniel Craig payday edition

Daniel Craig in 2016 during the Brexit campaign in the U.K.

Variety says it knows Daniel Craig’s salary for Bond 25. Naturally, that raises questions. That’s the specialty of this blog.

Is Craig getting a pay raise or pay cut?

It depends who you believe, how accurate the news account and what currency exchange rates were at the time.

Back in 2012, after Skyfall became the first “billion-dollar-Bond,” outlets such as The Independent said Craig would receive 31 million British pounds to do two more 007 films.

At 2012 exchange rates, that would mean getting $49.7 million, or almost $25 million per film. At current exchange rates, that would be closer to $42 million, or $21 million per film.

Variety’s story says Craig is getting $25 million for Bond 25.

Given the currency swings and the like, it’s hard to say one way or another.

Still, the Variety figure is FAR LESS than the $150 million, two-film deal that Radar Online claimed Craig would receive in a September 2016 story.

In 2016, some Bond fans took to social media to argue Craig was worth every penny of that supposed $150 million, two-film deal.

That argument was made despite the fact that Craig hasn’t shown any evidence of being a box office draw outside of the Bond series.

Examples: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ($232 million global box office), and a film where Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer said resulted in a loss; Cowboys & Aliens ($174.8 million global box office); Lucky Logan ($47.6 million global box office); and Kings ($258,614 U.S. box office since April 27).

Does the Variety story mean Bond 25’s distribution/financing is wrapped up?

Not necessarily. MGM said in 2007 that Craig was signed for four more 007 films (or running through Bond 25). But one event (Craig’s contract) doesn’t directly affect the other (Bond 25’s distribution/financing).

Put another way: Craig isn’t going to collect on his contract (whatever the amount, whatever the length of time) unless there’s somebody to pay it.

MGM and Eon Productions announced a November 2019 release date back on July 24, 2017. No distribution deal was set then.

On Oct. 31, 2017, MGM and Annapurna Pictures said they formed a joint venture to release each other’s movies in the U.S. But that deal specifically exempted Bond 25.

In mid-December 2017, Barbara Broccoli said in a podcast of The Hollywood Reporter said Bond 25 distribution wasn’t set.

Maybe there’s been more progress since then. But Craig’s contract, in an of itself, doesn’t mean much.

Man of Steel soars; will it help U.N.C.L.E?

"See the guy in the cape, Illya? He's supposed to play me in the U.N.C.L.E. movie."

“See the guy in the cape, Illya? He’s supposed to play me in the U.N.C.L.E. movie.”

Man of Steel, the newest cinematic take on Superman, appears headed to a big opening weekend at the U.S. box office. Given that the movie’s star, Henry Cavill, is supposed to be play Napoleon Solo, could Man of Steel provide a boost for the prospects of a film based on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.?

First the Man of Steel numbers: the Box Office Mojo Web site, in a June 13 story by Ray Subers, says “it’s very likely that the movie winds up with at least $100 million through Sunday” in ticket sales. Meanwhile, Nikki Finke at the Deadline Hollywood site, in June 14 post is going higher. Here’s an excerpt:

Superman audiences have just thumbed their noses at the new movie’s critics and given it an ‘A-’ CinemaScore. That will further help word of mouth as it’s already setting records for the biggest opening for June and the second biggest weekend opening of 2013….My sources have now refined their estimates to $46M Friday including that $9M in midnight shows (though some think the number could get as high as $50M). That makes for $120M for the three-day weekend, and $132M for the four-day cume including that $12M from Thursday 7 PM Wal-Mart shows.

For argument’s sake, lets say Man of Steel is declared a hit once preliminary weekend box office results are posted on June 16. From the perspective of the U.N.C.L.E. project, a number of questions arise:

Does Cavill end up getting at least partial credit for the box office performance of Man of Steel? If so, does that help create buzz for other Cavill projects, including U.N.C.L.E.? Does Man of Steel’s box office give Warner Bros. — which hasn’t formally announced a Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie — the confidence to proceed with Cavill in the lead?

On the other hand, you can make the case Cavill’s Man of Steel may not transfer at all to U.N.C.L.E. Superman has been continuously published for 75 years and has been the subject of multiple movies and television shows. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. on the other hand, went off the air in 1968. It has been 30 years since The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. television movie, with no new U.N.C.L.E. since.

Even if U.N.C.L.E. gets made, few actors guarantee a movie will be a hit. Daniel Craig’s three James Bond movies have recorded high box office ticket sales and he has said he’s signed for two more. But Craig-starring movies such as Cowboys and Aliens and The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo lost money.

UPDATE (June 16): Man of Steel sold an estimated $113 million in tickets for the June 14-16 weekend, according to THE BOX OFFICE MOJO SITE. The film’s domestic total as of today is an estimated $125 million.

Daniel Craig says Bond 23 will be a `classic Bond’

Daniel Craig, in an interview with Cowboys And Aliens director Jon Favreau, ventured into a few comments about Bond 23. Among them:

— “I read the script the other day and I’m more excited about this than Casino (Royale),” the actor said, “because we’ve got a classic Bond movie plus lots of other things.”

— Bond 23 director Sam Mendes “has a sort of fervor and energy to really direct a Bond movie with a capital ‘B.'” Mendes, Craig said, “has read every book and soaked up everything about it.”

Take a look for yourself:

In a different section of the interview, Craig tells Favreau what it was like to be cast as Bond in 2005:

A 007 actor and his fanboys

If you were to believe rabid fans of Daniel Craig and his two films as James Bond, this video would be quite significant:

The video was taken during the premier of Cowboys and Aliens. To those who believe Daniel Craig is the *very best* James Bond ever (never mind Connery, never mind Moore, never mind any other 007 actor or *potential* Bond actor), this video is proof of that.

To that we offer a few observations:

1) The only obligation an actor has to fans is to deliver the best performance he or she can deliver. Nodding to fanboys is something to endure, not anything more significant than that.

2) Actors have multiple obligations; chances are he/she is not a particular fan of the character he/she is playing. Actors have their own careers to take of and portraying a character in a movie, TV series or play is just a job. In Daniel Craig’s case, do you really think he cares more about Bond than his Cowboys and Aliens character? Here’s the breathless description of the YouTube video above: “Amazingly, at the premiere of Cowboys and Aliens, Craig notices three fans wearing perfect Madagascar outfits from Casino Royale and gives his approval not once but THREE times!”

3) For those actors who are playing a well-known character played by multiple actors previously…well, it will probably take years before any one actor’s performance can be properly evaluated compared with the others. To cite an extreme case: Ricardo Cortez played Sam Spade a decade before Humphrey Bogart did, yet ALMOST NOBODY (to be kind) would cite Cortez’s portrayal to be superior to Bogart’s version. Are 007 fanboys really in a position to evaluate Craig compared with the other five actors who’ve played Bond in films?

Put another way: is Craig’s portrayal of Bond closer to Bogie’s as Spade or to Cortez’s as Spade? Does anyone *really* know at this point? Would Craig himself even care as long as the paychecks clear?

Daniel Craig briefly talks about Bond 23 to IGN

Daniel Craig, while promoting the upcoming Cowboys and Aliens movies, did a little ducking and weaving when asked by IGN about Bond 23.

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” Craig told IGN. Director Sam Mendes “is so on top of this, it’s great.”

The interviewer asks if traditional elements will be back while having a darker take. We suspect you shouldn’t read too much into Craig’s comments but see for yourself. The exchange about Bond 23 is not long and was at the end of the interview:

UPDATE: EW.com, Entertainment Weekly’s Web site, hypes its interview with Craig and Harrison Ford. Craig is quoted as saying he didn’t like either Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan much as 007. You can CLICK HERE to see the item.