No time to die and the next evolution of the James Bond franchise
No time to die, Daniel Craig’s fifth and final release as James Bond, hits US theaters this weekend after nearly two full years of delay. Swan song crowns a 15-year run for Craig, making him the longest-serving 007 after slipping on the tuxedo with the awfully good 2006 Casino Royale. But around this time, the world of entertainment surrounding the iconic spy changed dramatically. Just as Craig’s brooding Bond bulldozer is virtually unrecognizable from Roger Moore’s campy iteration, today’s Hollywood is a whole new economic, cultural, and technological playground.
The cosmic jerk of the martini of fate sees No time to To dieAmazon’s arrival coincides with Amazon’s acquisition of MGM Studios, a partial owner of the Bond franchise. As such, Craig’s conclusion plunges the future of property ownership into a unique unknown. To chart the way forward, we need to understand what James Bond means to Hollywood, how the franchise has evolved, and what the future may hold for the suave assassin.
James Bond at the box office
Bond’s economy is both the key to its sustainability and an indication of the sustainability of the old-fashioned Hollywood model. No time to die marks the 25th Bond film in theaters since 1962 and is expected to push the franchise’s global box office past the $ 7 billion mark. Between car chases and shootouts, 007 became the fourth highest-grossing film series in history behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star wars, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
“The biggest takeaway when looking at Bond’s box office history is its unmatched longevity,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told Observer. “There is no other continuing franchise that has remained so viable and relevant over a 60-year span in all of Hollywood. It is remarkably consistent.
Adjusted for inflation, only one of the previous 24 Bond films failed to land $ 100 million domestically. In unadjusted gross, eight consecutive frames of 007 passed that mark, starting with Pierce Brosnan’s Bond debut. Golden eye (1995). Globally, the franchise has surpassed $ 500 million in each of its last four releases (including its very first $ 1 billion hit with Fall from the sky), and the last Bond film that failed to make it to the top 10 worldwide earners in its release year was 1989 License to kill. So, yes, James Bond is making money. A lot.
In typical 007 fashion, part of the franchise’s success is due to its gadgets. “The simple fact is that without [product placement], we couldn’t do it, ”said Craig, making Fall from the sky. Omega watches, Gillette razors, Belvedere vodka, Heineken beer, BMW, Aston Martin and an avalanche of other brands have all taken hold of each other to be at the center of the spy adventures. Heineken reportedly paid $ 45 million to appear in Fall from the sky. Jacques de Cock, marketing consultant and lecturer at the London School of Marketing, estimates that the franchise has earned between $ 4 billion and $ 5 billion in marketing sponsorship since the 1962s. Dr No. Bond as a pitchman is an asset that other shows don’t have.
“When done correctly, product placement lends an air of realism while offsetting marketing and production costs,” Dergarabedian said. “It’s genius.”
And Bond isn’t just Don Draper with a British accent. He is indebted to no one other than himself, which allows the franchise to pivot and reinvent itself without a hitch. “A lot of Marvel entries still look like Comic-Con commercials for business plans, rather than cinematic creativity,” Mark O’Connell, author of Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan, Observer said. Plus, Marvel’s mind can’t make its films work independently of each other, as a constant bond is more urgent than making a good cinematic caper. Bond hasn’t stumbled that way yet.
And Bond’s complicated ownership structure hasn’t tripped the franchise yet, either. As a cinematic property, Bond is jointly owned by Eon Productions of the Broccoli family and MGM. These two companies reap most of the rewards by awarding intellectual property to distributors, who bolster their reputation more than just a money maker. Sony distributed Craig’s first four Bond films and, according to Forbes, covered half of the production budgets of these films but received only 25% of the profits.
Now that Amazon will own MGM, the financial situation is actually poised to improve on several fronts. “This is huge for Bond,” Dergarabedian said of the tech giant’s acquisition of MGM. “It’s great to have Amazon’s deep financial pockets. Eon Productions and the Broccolis will be the custodians of the content, but marketers and distributors will need and receive significant resources. And for Amazon, they now take a bigger slice of the pie than previous distributors because they own MGM.
Is James Bond still relevant in today’s franchise ecosystem?
Bond once ruled as an ambitious franchise model in Hollywood. Then the MCU extended the concept of a single character franchise to an entire cross-pollinated universe that now includes television. With Disney applying the same logic to Star wars, the whole notion of film franchising has shifted towards interconnected multimedia narratives. Craig’s Bond looked at the ways in which 007 – a figure born out of a white male colonial mindset – was somewhat of a cultural relic. (And even those involved in the franchise, like Q actor Ben Whishaw, recognize the need for “radical” change if Bond “isn’t going to become some sort of museum piece.”) But Bond is- is it a business relic in the era of modern franchise building?
“In keeping with the current tricks and structures of its rival franchise films like Marvel and Star wars, the Craig era has strived not to be left behind by an era of box sets and multiple series viewing, ”said O’Connell. “When Craig’s films lose that unique mission model that previously marked obligations, they realize the audience’s ability to invest in larger stories within a Game Of Thrones and Avengers time. All of our epic TV shows and national dramas are intertwined and connected. Bond can do the same.
In fact, he may have already done so. Craig’s iteration of the super spy introduced a serialized storytelling that creates movie-to-movie across lines, for better or for worse. So maybe what Bond represents to Hollywood is a franchise-building model that’s just malleable enough to exist alongside behemoths like the MCU. After all, the biggest trick 007 has ever pulled, according to Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, was to convince audiences that they were seeing something new, when in reality the creators just remix.
“Nothing in Hollywood is a cultural relic unless executives and creatives can find a way to make money out of it,” Bock said. “And with intellectual property these days, that just isn’t part of the playbook.”
The future of James Bond
Bond remains a franchise, not yet a universe. Star wars has been revitalized by its transition to television, while the MCU has expanded to the small screen without diminishing its brand. When it comes to creating a multimedia franchise, it is about delineating the two supports. If Bond were to ultimately go down this route under Amazon, he would have to define the theatrical components of the franchise and the streaming components. M, Moneypenny, Q — the world is full of great characters that a talented writer could rely on for small screen strategy. But it needs to be distinct from movie films, as Bond’s inherent value over the years derives from the prestige and exclusivity of theaters. Yet Amazon didn’t spend $ 8.45 billion on MGM for nothing.
“What’s exciting about Bond’s new future is that there can be multiple spinoffs, whether in theaters or streaming, at the same time,” Bock said. “The risk of that, obviously, is overstated, but fans will gravitate towards what they prefer, as they always do.”
It’s not like a franchise expansion hasn’t already been on the agenda. One pitch that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson shot was a TV series following a young Bond while he was attending Eton College. Jinx by Halle Berry, introduced in the years 2002 Die another day was supposed to direct a spin-off film until MGM balked at the budget. Apple would have liked to extend Bond’s universe to the small screen when it bid on franchise rights in 2017. Yet such ambitions still seem to be of little interest to those who have the last word.
“You get it,” Broccoli recently told Total Film when asked if she was indifferent to a James Bond television series. “We make films. We make films for the cinema. That’s what we do. ”Wilson added: We have resisted that call for 60 years.
Should the Bond franchise move away from the old-fashioned archetype it has so desperately clung to for 60 years? Does he need to reinforce more characters who better reflect modern sensibilities? If he wants to maintain his momentum, the answer seems obvious. As the franchise continues to evolve, Bond needs a new actor to replace Daniel Craig, who has the charisma and durability to sustain an action movie franchise for more than a decade. The series needs a star who draws in a younger audience to keep 007 fresh and vital as its core demographic of ticket buyers continues to age. And while Amazon is surely keen to capitalize on its shiny new toy with an ambitious franchise expansion, the series can never lose its luster as a cinematic event and not just a bridge to future chapters to come.
“The Craig era made great strides in straddling the past and the present,” O’Connell said. “Maybe a new Bond and a new Bond film will move forward in a different way, with less respect for the 1960s and a golden age to which the younger generations are less sensitive.”
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