One of the longest-running franchises, James Bond movies have been entertaining us since Sean Connery uttered that line, “Bond… James Bond,” in 1962’s “Dr. No.”
As the franchise has made over $US4 billion worldwide to date, and the 24th movie “Spectre” is coming out November 6, there are still no signs that the world’s coolest spy will be slowing down (even if Daniel Craig is getting tired of playing him). But what has made the franchise so unstoppable for so long?
Let’s dive into the numbers and see which of the movies did the best in theatres and which did the worst. The results may surprise you.
Note about figures: Below domestic box office totals are based on 2015 adjusted gross. (Source: BoxOfficeMojo)
Sean Connery's fourth time playing 007 turned out to be his most successful commercially as the film, in which Bond must recover two nuclear warheads from SPECTRE member Emilio Largo, exceeded the previous movies and, with adjusted numbers, is the highest-grossing Bond outing to date.
In the third film in the franchise, Connery hit his stride playing Bond as he goes against villain Goldfinger, who attempts to rob Fort Knox. The spy gadgets and Bond's ride, the Aston Martin, became fan favourites.
Daniel Craig's third time as Bond became a modern-day classic in the franchise. With Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes at the helm and Javier Bardem playing the villain, the movie became not only the highest-grossing Bond movie (before adjusting for inflation) but also the highest-grossing movie ever in the UK.
Connery's fifth time as 007 was reported to be his last when the movie was released (he ended up making two more). But the buildup as the original Bond's curtain call likely helped the box-office numbers of this Cold War-focused chapter in the franchise. Here's to wondering if Craig's gripes about playing Bond can do the same for 'Spectre.'
Playing off the popularity of the 1977 release of 'Star Wars,' Roger Moore's fourth time as Bond had him kicking butt in space. It worked: 'Moonraker' was the highest-grossing movie in the franchise for a while (it was dethroned by 'GoldenEye' in 1995).
Timothy Dalton's second and final time as Bond is the lowest earner in the franchise. The British ratings board frowned upon the film's relatively gruesome violence, giving it a '15 certificate,' meaning it could not be seen by a person under 15 years of age. Also, Bond suddenly had competition in the action genre. The same year 'Licence to Kill' was released, moviegoers were also lured in by 'Batman,' 'Lethal Weapon 2,' and 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' (starring original Bond, Sean Connery, as Indy's father).
The ninth entry in the Bond franchise and the second time with Moore as the lead, 'Golden Gun' had him up against Christopher Lee as the villain with the title weapon who possesses many of the same skills as Bond. Many critics had issue with Lee and the lighthearted tone.
Timothy Dalton's debut as Bond was better than his sophomore effort, but audiences were still sceptical. This time on the hunt for the head of the KGB who is killing British and American spies, Bond's darker turn, as with 'Licence to Kill,' failed to capture audience attention -- ironic given how gloomy Craig's Bond has gotten.
Though the film had an incredible duo of villains in Christopher Walkin and Grace Jones, along with a chart-topping theme song by Duran Duran, 'A View to a Kill' didn't sell tickets like its cast would suggest now. Perhaps it was just that people were finally tired of Roger Moore (this would be his seventh and final time as Bond).
Following Connery's supposed retirement from the Bond role after 'You Only Live Twice,' unknown actor/model George Lazenby took on the dubious task of replacing the popular Connery. Lazenby didn't seem cut out for the bright lights, though the film performed ok. This led to Connery returning as 007 (United Artists paid him a then-record $US1.25 million salary) in 'Diamonds Are Forever.'
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.