James Bond broke another record this weekend, as the long-anticipated premiere of Spectre pulled in $80 million internationally, but even that achievement can’t quell the unrest Bond’s appearance in Mexico has created.
Spectre Breaks Previous James Bond Records In A Worldwide Premiere
The debut of Spectre achieved more than to just bring in impressive box office numbers. According to The Wrap, Spectre beat out numbers for the international premiere of the highly successful previous James Bond film, Skyfall. Additionally, Spectre brought in $64 million in the first seven days of its showing in U.K. theaters, establishing itself as the largest opening run in that country’s box office history.
“We are delighted that audiences in the U.K. and Ireland continue to embrace these stories about one of our biggest and best cultural icons,” said Peter Taylor, managing director of Sony Pictures U.K. “This opening proves once again, that the film world of James Bond speaks to cinema-goers like no other.”
The Mexican People Are Left High And Dry By James Bond
As Spectre opens, audiences are treated to a visually stunning scene of James Bond (Daniel Craig) walking the streets of Mexico City dressed in a skeleton costume, as he tries to blend in with the Day of the Dead revelers crowding the streets around him. While the scene is brief and insignificant, compared to the rest of the film, the shot has been the source of great contention between the Mexico City government and the people who live there.
In order to shoot the scene on location, Sony Pictures was compelled to strike a deal with the government of Mexico. In exchange for receiving permission to shoot the James Bond sequence, which also included financial incentives and £13 million in tax rebates, the Spectre film crew was required to portray Mexico City in a highly favorable light.
A Mexico City campaigner, Felipe Jurez, has been vocal in his concerns, asserting that not even James Bond is capable of saving his city. Jurez says that by participating in the deal, Sony Pictures and Spectre filmmakers have brushed Mexico’s problems under the rug, robbing the citizens of much needed resources and services.
“How many teachers or doctors would that cash have provided? It is a disgrace how our leaders put Hollywood before its own people,” suggests Mr. Jurez, according to Independent. “Poverty is so rife here, £13 million is a life changing amount for so many communities. Box offices around the world will be raking in millions, what have we got to show for it – nothing.”
To make Mexico City more appealing to Spectre audiences and thereby boost tourism to the city, the Mexican government added a number of stipulations to the crew shooting in the city. Such requirements included Mexico City police officers with a “special police force,” and guaranteeing that the film’s villain not be Mexican. The James Bond film was also required to include Mexican actress Stephanie Sigman.
Another city resident and a restaurant owner, Marcos Ruiz, says that he has noticed an increase in tourism, with a particular increase in westerners visiting the area, but he adds that he would much rather have seen the money go to the city.
“Bond may be a hero to some but for many here he is now cast as a villain.”
While it certainly takes two to tango, as the old saying goes, it seems that the people of Mexico are misdirecting their anger. James Bond has brought tourism to Mexico City with his Spectre appearance, and that shouldn’t be discounted.
Spectre, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond, hits U.S. theaters on November 6.
[Featured image courtesy of Sony Pictures/Spectre]