The James Bond film Spectre marks the 24th time Eon Productions has manned an adaptation of the famous womanizing secret agent.
Prior to the Broccoli family’s acquisition of rights, Bond appeared one other time on-screen in a made-for-television feature starring Barry Nelson in 1954.
Seeing the potential of author Ian Fleming’s 007, the Broccoli clan helped build the character into a legacy that will likely survive long after anyone reading this.
Currently, the role is inhabited by Daniel Craig, and for the most part, audiences have been pleased with his portrayal, helping the film series to new box office heights.
That’s why it was a bit of a drag when the U.S. numbers were tallied on this latest outing.
Currently, it doesn’t appear this James Bond film will turn much of a profit domestically, and if it does, it will be barely enough to cover the $245 million production budget.
According to Box Office Mojo, Spectre has grossed close to $180 million in the U.S. as of this posting, and last weekend — a big one for Hollywood — saw it having to add $12 million just to get there.
If it wasn’t for this James Bond film being widely embraced overseas, it would be safe to call it a flop. However, that would be inaccurate since foreign totals are at a healthy $573.5 million for a global take of $752.5 million and counting.
Translation: Eon isn’t going to be hurting for money when the final tally is in, but it can’t be thrilled with the results.
Considering the film’s direct predecessor, Skyfall, raked in more than $304 million domestically on a budget of $200 million (and $1.1 billion globally), the decline in acceptance of this latest James Bond is obvious.
Furthermore, it’s not just the U.S. totals that took a hit. The “foreign embrace” of Spectre marks a total of $231 million less at the present time.
Of course, to be fair, that number could climb at a steadier pace for a longer period of time than it will here in the States, but if it slows — and keep in mind Spectre has been playing longer overseas than in the U.S. — it’s safe to say that “24” failed to live up to the hype of “23.”
With sequel numbers that big, though, it’s safe to say that James Bond can afford to have a little decline and still emerge bigger and better down the road.
The same cannot be said for other films or movies in newer franchises.
There has already been some theorizing from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, no less, that the movie industry is on the verge of an implosion, and that one day, big event pictures could cost $100 or $150 per ticket.
The pair discussed it with the Hollywood Reporter in 2013, and despite the occasional weekend that jumps up and surprises industry analysts, there has been a steady decline in ticket sales every year for most of the 21st Century.
It’s entirely possible films like Skyfall that are widely embraced by critics and audiences alike will continue to break free of this trend, but it will not prevent outcomes like the one Spectre is currently experiencing.
In other words, one good movie may not be enough to float big budget franchises moving forward.
Looking at the latest James Bond as an example, production studios are now in a curious position of looking upon a film that turns a profit and walking away more concerned than elated at their “success.”
While a flop will always lose money, movies are no longer immune to the “failure” or “disappointment” labels if they miss expectations even while turning a profit.
But what do you think, readers? Should films like the latest James Bond be considered “successful” when they demonstrate an obvious falling-off of from previous films in the series?
[Image via Spectre screen grab]