After the “lost year” of 2016, Bond 25 appears to be actually getting into gear.
The New York Times reported that five studios (four established, one a newcomer) are bidding for a one-picture deal to distribute the next 007 film from Eon Productions.
However that bidding turns out, the stakes are still high for the 25th James Bond film.
SPECTRE was OK financially but didn’t grow the franchise
2012’s Skyfall was (pardon the pun) a quantum improvement over Quantum of Solace in terms of popular and critical reaction. Skyfall almost seemed like a return to the mid-1960s when Goldfinger made 007 a “thing.”
The 007 series followed up Goldfinger with Thunderball, which was even bigger.
The series followed up Skyfall with SPECTRE, which….wasn’t as big. In the U.S. market, SPECTRE sold the fewest theater tickets (23 million) of 007 movies released since 1995 (and the advent of the home video era).
SPECTRE brought back Blofeld but made him Bond’s “foster brother.” Shades of Austin Powers.
Because of information from the Sony hacks, we know other things that could have made it into the movie. M was a traitor. Tanner was a traitor. Bond watches Tanner commit suicide. Felix Leiter calls Moneypenny a “fox lady.”
Veteran 007 scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were summoned to perform triage. SPECTRE was no disaster at the box office, but it didn’t match Skyfall.
Where is this franchise going? At the end of SPECTRE, Bond (Daniel Craig) is driving off in the Aston Martin DB5 with Madeline Swann (Lea Seydoux). The car was seemingly destroyed in Skyfall, but the Eon crew can’t let go.
If Craig comes back, do we go off on another revenge story (as in Quantum of Solace)? If Seydoux is killed by Blofeld (a fan favorite scenario), does Bond fall apart yet again (as in Skyfall)?
Or does Bond 25 mostly ignore SPECTRE, similar to how Diamonds Are Forever for the most part didn’t reference On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? (There are references but very slight.)
Does Bond 25 cap its production budget? Or does it double down?
SPECTRE had examples of ridiculous spending. A $36 million car chase (really, a car drive). The “largest explosion in motion picture history” that had no drama because Bond and Swann were well away and safe when it happened.
Does Eon Productions scale back? Or does it try to keep up with the Joneses, i.e. modern movie blockbusters?
We’re a long way off from a movie being filmed. Not a whole lot can happen until there’s a studio to actually release Bond 25. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which exited bankruptcy in 2010, doesn’t have the resources to finance a big-budget Bond on its own.
Here’s the thing. As of now, the Bond series doesn’t have direction. In the 21st century, successful franchises (think Disney’s Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm Ltd.) plan things out years ahead of time.
With Bond, it’s kind of, “Let’s see how it goes.”
For 55 years, since the release of Dr. No, that has worked out. Maybe it will again. Bond 25 will tell us a lot whether that’s still the case.
Filed under: James Bond Films | Tagged: Barbara Broccoli, Bond 25, Eon Productions, Goldfinger, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Neal Purvis, Quantum of Solace, Robert Wade, Skyfall, SPECTRE, Thunderball | 3 Comments »