Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bond All-Time Box Office

So, this is what happens on a lazy Sunday. Throughout the Bond blogathon, I was also thinking in the back of my mind about how the Bond films stacked up against each other box office-wise (in US box office, that is), once inflation was taken into account (and yes, my reservations about counting inflation remain--its a much more complicated matter than just comparing tix prices--but its still a useful and harmless academic exercise). It continues my recent fascination with how the dynamics of brand media texts fluctuate over time.

Once I typed in the information from Box Office Mojo into an excel sheet, and figured out the same basic formula using changing tix prices since 1962, it didn't take too long to get the results.



Initial Thoughts?

#1? Thunderball, not Goldfinger--though the latter's huge success probably laid the conditions for the former's even more phenonomenal performance (440 Million!--both Thunderball and Goldfinger each made more than Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace combined, and Craig's box office has been stellar).

Quantum of Solace will probably gain another ten million or so before it leaves theatres, but that would only move it up a slot or two at best, and not into the top ten.

I was not surprised to see that Craig's two recent films really didn't stand out relative to others, even though technically they are, as of this weekend, the two highest-grossing Bond films when looking at the raw data. Technically, Casino Royale has made more money than any others, but counting inflation, it barely cracks the top ten.

I was surprised to see that Brosnan's films ended up ranking so high. I had no idea just how much the tix prices had jumped in just ten years.

I knew Connery's films were far and away the standard-bearers, but never had the data to back it up. However, I was surprised to see that Dr. No didn't make more than it did (yes, it was first, but it also benefited from several re-releases in the 1960s). And I was also surprised to see that Moonraker nearly held its own against those films (along with Die Another Day).

If there's any doubt why Bond filmmakers keep occasionally making really stupid films, one needn't look any further than the fact that Moonraker, Die Another Day and You Only Live Twice represent half of the highest six grossers ever (and I'm tempted to throw Thunderball in that category as well).

I was surprised to see how poorly Moore's Bond films in the beginning (namely, Man with a Golden Gun). Moore's box-office performance actually seemed to gain steam over time, even if (in my opinion) the quality of his films steadily dwindled.

The performance of Bond films in the late 1960s and earlier 1970s was nearly as bad as in the late 1980s, and I am surprised that the franchise didn't fold. I never realized before how The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker (where I felt the franchise started to get a little overblown, silly and lame) actually helped save the franchise. Then again, all the numbers were strong relative to other non-Bond films then, just not other Bond films.

Finally, I was surprised to see Living Daylights so low. I had heard several times that Dalton's first performance was a strong hit, but relatively speaking, it really wasn't.

Only three of the top 10 Bond films (Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, Casino Royale) would be on my list of the Top 10. Meanwhile, four of my personal favorites fill the bottom five (all but A View to a Kill). How did I end up being such a Bond fan with those contradictory tastes?

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