That’s that, then? Not quite. The 60th-anniversary events and celebrations may be pretty much wrapped up, but there is still the slow drip of officially licenced merchandise announcements that didn’t quite get approvals or their publicity together in time. If you were in the market for a new pair of boots or headphones and thought you missed out, you’re in luck.
Now that the UK re-release season of all 25 films has wrapped, it’s time to reveal how the James Bond films did with British audiences over almost half a year of box-office weekends. We’ve been collating the data kindly provided by the BFI, and before we get more emails about it, yes, they only released figures for the Friday to Sunday period. If you went to see these on a Tuesday, your pounds were not counted. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 most successful re-releases at the UK box office this year.
#10 (Licence To Kill) and #9 (The Living Daylights)
Timothy Dalton’s resurgence in the general public continues as both his outings land in the top 10. Our theory on this at the time was that audiences gained through the Daniel Craig era would be more likely to find a groove with Dalton’s grounded and gritty portrayal, and this seems to have been borne out at the box office. By all accounts, ‘Licence To Kill’ looked terrific on the big screen and squashed the common ‘made for TV look’ criticism.
#8 (Live And Let Die)
Spoiler: All the James Bond actors except Sean Connery see their debut outings land in the top 10. The experimental nature of an actor’s first outing, with everyone throwing everything at it to make it a success, seems to produce well-received films.
#7 (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
Lazenby’s solo outing was riding at #2 through the summer. Fan reappraisal has been strong over the last 10 years, and ‘No Time To Die’ borrowing heavily from the film may have put it, rightfully, in front of a larger general audience.
#6 (The Spy Who Loved Me)
ITV’s favourite Bond film before ‘Skyfall’ came out, this perennial Bank Holiday Bond is perhaps the most recognised from the Roger era in the eyes of Joe Public. It almost defeated the next entry to take the #1 spot at the time of its re-release.
Long held as the standard bearer for the franchise, audiences came out strong for ‘Goldfinger’ despite the average ticket-buyer having probably seen this film at least a dozen times already. It hasn’t lost any of its luster or sparkle, although maybe some of its charms are wearing thin.
The king (‘Goldfinger’) is dead. Long live the king (‘GoldenEye’). Whether it’s a generational thing, or a wave of fans brought in by the game of the same name in 1997 (and who, perhaps, never even saw it in the cinema), ‘GoldenEye’ is now - unquestionably - the touchstone for the series pre-Daniel Craig. It smashed ‘Goldfinger’s numbers.
#3 (No Time To Die)
Helped in part by James Bond being all over the media the week of its re-release as the 60th Anniversary events were on TV, radio, and in print, many turned up to see the latest adventure on the big screen again despite it streaming for free on Amazon Prime. This was the only film not shown on ITV on the same weekend as its cinema re-release.
Maybe there are a couple of people left in the UK who have not seen ‘Skyfall’ yet, but given its omnipresence on ITV4 and having had the biggest British box-office record back in 2012, it still found a huge number of people wanting to pay to revisit. Screened on the weekend of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, the copious bunting, fluttering Union Jacks, and resurgence of patriotism could not have landed on a better Bond outing to capture the nation’s mood.
#1 (Casino Royale)
As our friend and co-author of ‘Some Kind of Hero,’ Ajay Chowdhury, put it at the time of the release, ‘Casino Royale’ is the ‘gourmet’ James Bond film. Not only is it a great James Bond film, but it’s also just a great film. Audiences agreed by turning up in numbers, devouring the delectable delights of 007’s origin story. What makes the performance of 'Casino Royale' even more impressive though, is that Saturday 3rd September was National Cinema Day, where many venues sold tickets for just £3 (approximately half price). This meant that twice as many people attended on Saturday to make up the same revenue compared to all the other films so far.
What happened to the rest? You can click here to read blow-by-blow accounts of each film’s takings and analysis of their performance. The usual suspects were in the relegation zone (‘For Your Eyes Only,’ ‘The World Is Not Enough,’ ‘Diamonds Are Forever,’ ‘Octopussy,’ ‘Die Another Day’) but some of the original box office big hitters surprisingly failed to land with UK audiences this time around (‘Thunderball,’ ‘Moonraker,’ You Only Live Twice’).
The popular exhibition 'Bond In Motion' is moving to Belgium at The Palais de Expositions at Heysel, Brussels Expo (Palais 1). It will feature vehicles from all 25 James Bond films and be open from December 9th, 2022 to May 14th, 2023.
James Bond & Friends is now the most listened-to regularly updated podcast on all matters 007 with almost 500,000 listens in 2022! Although this podcast has always been available through regular audio platforms such as Spotify and Apple iTunes, we have received a number of requests to provide a version of the content on YouTube.
This week we launched the James Bond & Friends channel on YouTube with the first three episodes of our recent 'Debrief' series that takes apart the iconic and impactful elements of each of the films. Additional back-catalog episodes will be added weekly.
If you want to listen to all the episodes ever published, we recommend the podcast's homepage or subscribe through your preferred podcast platform.
If you were left wanting more from the ‘Sounds of 007’ concert, a helpful chap has posted the entire event on YouTube as a playlist. The Amazon Prime 59-minute cut removed all of the spectacular orchestral performances. Here’s hoping there will be an official release of the whole concert in the future.
Exit Through The Gift Shop
Hurrah! The Folio Society has come through and added the five short-story collection ‘For Your Eyes Only’ to its gorgeous hardback collection of Ian Fleming novels. We are now just awaiting ‘Octopussy & The Living Daylights.’ Fay Dalton provides the art once again.
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Noomi comma M … ! That’s what I call an interesting curiosity ! Will be here following the podcast for sure 👌
Watched License to Kill last night ...... Dalton was a very good Bond in that movie......we forget the script has a lot to do with whether the actor is good or bad....