James Bond in ‘Spectre’ pulls in $5.25 million from Thursday shows

6 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Spectre’ references old Bond movies without a fresh spin.

Daniel Craig is reportedly ready to hang it up as James Bond, and perhaps it’s all for the best. James Bond may be a fictional British secret service agent, but ever since he debuted on the big screen 53 years ago, he has become the most American of heroes.“Spectre” is exptected to post robust numbers when it debuts in 3,929 domestic locations Friday with recent estimates in the $80 million range stateside.

Spectre opens with an extended take that cranes down over a massive parade of people dressed in skeleton costumes to single out a masked James Bond in the crowd.As the James Bond theme thundered — ba-da, ba-daaaa! — and 50 camera crews clamored for a better view, a white Suburban with tinted windows rolled up to the Americas premiere of “Spectre” on Monday in Mexico City.

There was a time not so long ago when the very notion of James Bond seemed ridiculous—as anachronistic as making a movie about Betamax players or pay phones. The camera follows him into a hotel, an elevator, and then a bedroom; he flings a woman onto a bed, changes swiftly into a perfectly tailored suit, and climbs out the window to walk along the roof of a separate building, gun in hand, and perform an assassination while the ghoulish parade continues below. Agent 007 is as famous for his cars as he is for his world-saving antics, but there are a few… let’s say “questionable” choices from the series 50-plus-year history. The opening weekend will likely fall short of the $88.4 million debut of “Skyfall,” which benefited from being the only new wide release during its first weekend in theaters. “Skyfall” was by far the top performer in franchise history with $304 million domestically and $804 million internationally. “Spectre” carries a price tag of $250 million, plus more than $100 million in marketing and promotion costs. The current occupant of the Bond role, Daniel Craig, has distinguished himself through four films by delivering the most emotionally available and realistic portrayal to date. “Hopefully, my Bond is not as sexist and misogynistic as [earlier incarnations],” he recently told The Guardian. “The world has changed.

Industry executives predict that the picture will have to do $650 million worldwide to break even. “Spectre,” produced by Sony, MGM and EON, is the 24th Bond pic and the fourth with Daniel Craig starring as 007. It makes for a gorgeous, foreboding, and incredibly tense sequence, staged and paced with Hitchcockian wit and precision — and that’s before stuff starts blowing up.

Time, I think, for another reboot and another Bond. (My vote is for Idris Elba.) Sam Mendes directed this reputedly $250 million production, but it’s difficult to determine where all that money went. Quantum of Solace, thanks largely to the WGA strike, was a step backward, but Sam Mendes’s Skyfall was one of the best Bond movies ever made: Lyrical, gorgeous, compelling, and viscerally exciting, it was the culmination of this rawer new direction. It’s launching in 60 international markets this weekend after grossing $63 million in its first week in the U.K. “Spectre” faces solid competition in the U.S. from Fox’s “The Peanuts Movie,” which didn’t screen Thursday night previews. Set during Mexico City’s Day of the Dead festival, the sequence introduces a longer pre-credits action set piece, complete with crashing buildings and a vertiginous hand-to-hand encounter in an out-of-control helicopter. It may reside in the annals of movie stunt history because of its corkscrew jump over a river in The Man With the Golden Gun, but make no mistake, the AMC Hornet was by all means a bad car.

It’s a scene that pulls double duty as a high-octane opener and a backdoor fundraiser for this $300 million spy extravaganza: It was reportedly reworked in order to qualify for as much as $20 million in tax credits from the Mexican government, which wanted Spectre’s producers to feature the city in a positive light. Built in the early 1970s to answer the ongoing fuel crisis, the Hornet was an underpowered, under-styled economy car that had neither performance nor panache – something a certain secret agent should be looking for in his vehicle of choice. It means you cast great actresses and make the parts as good as you can for the women in the movies.” Craig’s Bond films are indeed far less overtly insensitive to women than his predecessors. The strength of the two new films should goose ticket sales after a disappointing period for multiplexes in which “Steve Jobs,” “Burnt,” “Our Brand is Crisis” and “The Last Witch Hunter” have underperformed.

And too many characters and sequences from previous Bond films, particularly from the Sean Connery/Roger Moore era, are referenced without providing a fresh spin. This Bond hits all the paces of the old movies—fancy cars, big guns, form-fitting tuxes, the relentless seduction of every woman who crosses his path (including a woman literally at her husband’s funeral)—but doesn’t give us the more human, more dangerous spin Craig generally brought to the material. For example, a punch-out between Bond and a big lug on a train is a dim echo of the Connery-Robert Shaw slugfest in “From Russia With Love.” The film’s attempt, after “Skyfall,” to extend Bond’s psychological back story, is sketchy at best. The series clearly needed to make a shift after 2002’s “Die Another Day.” Although that film was the most profitable 007 project at that point, its invisible cars and CGI laser beams seemed out of step with real world threats. For the last 20 years, ever since their father handed over the keys to the series, the ferociously private Barbara Broccoli, 55, and her half brother, Michael G.

Today, Pierce Brosnan’s tenure in the tux in the 1990s is often treated with derision, even by the actor himself — but many fans forget what a breath of fresh air his films were at the time. But while we loved seeing Bond behind the wheel of one, the fact remains that the 2CV can’t hold a candle to any of his other prime rides in almost any measurable category. This seems to’ve been the franchise’s plan all along: The darker reboot was just a way to get us reinvested in the material, before steering us back to the waters of Dr. His romantic scenes, first with an underworld widow played by Monica Bellucci, and later with the Proustianly named Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), are neither shaken nor stirring.

Brosnan’s four gadget-heavy editions were a true reflection of the tech boom decade, when the U.S., flush with funds, wanted action more spectacular than plausible. The Brosnan era’s big budget, effects-laden entries helped make Bond an icon for a whole new generation of filmgoers who were too young for the character’s 1960s heyday. The story this time is that Bond, having just concluded the apocalyptic face-off at the end of Skyfall, is battling with bureaucrats who want to end the Double O program. (The last few entries here have had a decided anti-technology bent; this one adds in some half-hearted commentary about a surveillance society, too.) Eventually, they strip away his license to kill and all his privileges—he’s basically the cop who keeps getting yelled at by his commanding officers—just as he’s stumbling across an international crime syndicate called Spectre, which has in fact been responsible for all the terrorism and mayhem we’ve been watching him fight off this whole time. It’s just too bad the rest of Spectre is such a disappointment — relative not just to its opening scene, but to other recent Bond films, which scrambled the Bond formula in ways that produced two of the series’ best entries: the taut, brutal Casino Royale (2006) and the breathtakingly beautiful Skyfall (2012). Wilson have final say over every line of dialogue, every casting decision, every stunt sequence, every marketing tie-in, every TV ad, poster and billboard.

The syndicate is headed by the infamous Blofeld (Christoph Waltz), who turns out to have a personal history with Bond and thus good reason to not only want him dead, but to make him suffer immensely. Indeed, while the stunning opening sequence offers a succinct demonstration of all the ways a Bond movie can go right, what follows mostly serves to illustrate all the ways Bond movies can — and do — go wrong. The character was the perfect antidote to Cold War paranoia, a resourceful and virtually unflappable man’s man who always outsmarted his megalomaniacal foes. Thus, Bond must take down the syndicate, save his new love interest (Lea Seydoux from Blue Is the Warmest Color), and convince the British government to keep his job relevant and active. The mythological SPECTRE, which provides the latest 007 film with its title, was first introduced to audiences in the Connery films as a sort of ersatz terrorist organization (whose name stands for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion).

And although the Bond films were careful to delineate between SPECTRE and its fictional Soviet counterpoint (called SMERSH), there is little doubt that the organization played on ‘60s-era fears of international criminal conspiracies. Craig, whom she had spotted in an indie drama called “Layer Cake.” She was the one who, with “Spectre” hanging in the balance after the on-set injury of Mr. As détente took hold and the U.S. emerged from under the cloud of Watergate, the affable Roger Moore was a welcome change of pace from the hard-charging Connery. His arched eyebrow and ease with one-liners personified the rise of light, audience-pleasing entertainment that began in the late-‘70s and reached its peak in the 1980s. Although she almost never speaks in public and keeps an absurdly low profile in Hollywood — born in Los Angeles, she now lives and works in London — Ms.

The stunts here are fantastical, but overly so: A bit where he chases down a car while maneuvering a plane on the ground is an impressive bit of theater, but it feels more like a stunt in a Fast and Furious movie. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with the Mark VII, we hesitate to believe that MI6 couldn’t set their best agent up with something better for his mission.

But the larger problem is that it feels like the Broccoli family—which has owned the rights to Bond forever, and nearly destroyed the franchise before Craig and his accompanying new focus on realism saved them—is back in full command. Other than the Z8, Bond’s product-placement-fueled relationship with BMW was generally lackluster, and none were more saddening than the light blue roadster in GoldenEye.

Besides a handful of non-white “Bond girls” over the years, 007 has largely occupied a lily-white universe, but a growing chorus of fans have been loudly lobbying for black British actor Idris Elba to play the part next. Wilson continued, as she shot him an O.K.-that’s-enough look. “They all know I’m a big pushover so they don’t care about me.” It may take all of her mettle to get James Bond through his next set of challenges. After a four-film period of stability and prosperity — the last Bond movie, “Skyfall,” took in $1.1 billion worldwide and “Spectre” has already been outselling it in many European markets — the spy series finds itself most definitely stirred if not outright shaken. The movie tries to wink at this by giving Blofeld a white cat who stalks around his office, but I’m not actually sure that’s a wink, and the kitsch is incongruous regardless: It’s like a Christopher Nolan Batman movie where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr.

The whole thing comes across as unintentionally ridiculous — and a far cry from the jazzy, energetic swagger of the opening titles for Craig’s first outing as Bond, Casino Royale. Craig, 47, has professed a desire to move on before, but this time he seems to really mean it. (“I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists,” he told a British magazine in October when asked if he wanted to continue playing the character.) Moreover, the final scenes of “Spectre” seem designed to set up the departure of this particular 007, or at least close a chapter. Audiences who first were introduced to Bond as a swaggering Lothario not above slapping women on their posterior and uttering phrases like “man talk,” could probably never have anticipated the possibility of a James Bond of color. But then again, few predicted an African-American would ascend to presidency in 2008, leaving some in this country both shaken and stirred. “If human beings want to know if there’s any connectivity between all of us, the one thing I’ve heard around the world universally is that, ‘You’ll be great at James Bond!’” Elba told Variety in September. “If it should happen, that’s proof there’s connectivity amongst human beings.

There is something dutiful to him now—a nod to the incessant obligations of the franchise, and an acceptance that Bond is an icon too enduring and powerful to ever truly be reimagined entirely. At least three studios — Sony, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox — are expected to battle for the right to take Bond into the future. “My main concern is what happens to the franchise next,” Sam Mendes, who directed “Spectre” and “Skyfall,” said in a phone interview, noting Mr.

Ejector seats, rockets, and machine guns we can understand from the world’s most advanced espionage organization, but torpedoes and an invisibility cloak? All told, he probably should’ve bowed out after the great Skyfall, which managed to work as a multi-generational reflection on loss and guilt and regret, and still be a kick-ass Bond movie. (And boy, does that movie look terrific.) 6. You can come up with a new take on James Bond, but ultimately, he’s still going to return to being James Bond, no matter how boldly you interpret him. In Spectre, however, he’s confined to a more traditional role as the comically awkward tech geek, forced to utter lame laugh lines about living alone with his cats. Not only did she perform the traditional role of Bond’s boss, sending him on his mission and setting the story in motion, but she also served as a voice of moral authority — a conscience who didn’t just tell Bond what to do, but let him know when he was wrong.

Wilson brushed aside any notion that there would be big changes in how the franchise was managed. “We’re in it for the long haul, whatever that may be,” he said. Spectre doesn’t just lose Dench’s powerful persona, it makes M a preachy dud, saddling Fiennes, who seems bored by the role, which is saddled with a lot of dull sermonizing about the dangerous nature of government surveillance.

The movie’s baddie is played by Christoph Waltz, a devilish Austrian performer with a knack for switching seamlessly between subtle innuendos and maniacally over-the-top melodrama. Broccoli shut down that question. “Maybe I’m in denial, but I don’t want to think about another Bond,” she said evenly. “Until he definitely says otherwise, I’m not going to give it another thought.” She added: “The future is a little uncertain, but whether we stay at Sony or go somewhere else, we’ll make it work. For starters, it is gargantuan: The 24 movies have taken in more than $5 billion at the domestic box office, after adjusting for inflation, according to Box Office Mojo. The series — the first to go after a global audience — has generated billions more in overseas ticket sales, home entertainment revenue, television reruns, marketing partnerships (Omega watches, Aston Martin cars, Gillette razors) and video games.

He eventually formed a business partnership with a producer named Harry Saltzman; together, they came to control the film rights to Ian Fleming’s sex-drenched James Bond novels. In contrast to Casino Royale, which paired Bond with Eva Green’s marvelously self-composed Vesper Lynd, another government agent and an equal with an agenda all her own, Spectre pulls mostly from the old Bond playbook.

Léa Seydoux plans Madeleine Swann, the daughter of an old enemy, and when she and Bond first spend time together, the fatherly quality of his relationship to her is made explicit. It’s a moment of strength for the character and a nice counter to the long history of Bond films featuring exactly those sorts of clichéd older man/younger woman relationships. Sure, the scene is a winking reference to similar train-car fights in From Russia With Love and The Spy Who Loved Me, but it totally undercuts the most interesting thing about her character.

But with a different director at the helm, a less operatic score, and a slightly brighter color palette, it’s all too easy to imagine this same script and story turning out exactly like the cheesy, glib Bond films from the 1970s, when Roger Moore played the part. Barber, who rescued MGM from bankruptcy in 2010, and Jonathan Glickman, president of the motion picture group at MGM.) Because MGM no longer distributes its own movies, the last four Bond pictures have been released through Sony.

But in Spectre, when he orders a martini, it’s back to, “Shaken, not stirred.” Every Bond film is in some sense a reflection of its time, from the Mad Men cool of the Sean Connery era to the Star Wars–inflected dorky disco vibe of the Roger Moore pictures to Timothy Dalton’s chilly Cold War spy thrillers to the generic, big-budget action blockbusters starring Pierce Brosnan in the late ’90s. Watching a Bond film provides a sense of a given time period’s fashion sensibilities, its ideas about masculinity and power, and even its political concerns. Eon and MGM have no contractual obligation to consider Sony first, but Michael Lynton, the chief executive of Sony Entertainment, very much wants to sign a new deal. And the expiring deal is lavish, requiring Sony to pay 50 percent of the “Spectre” production costs — which total some $250 million after accounting for government incentives — for only 25 percent of certain profits, once costs are recouped.

In an email stolen by hackers and widely published online, Andrew Gumpert, who oversees business affairs for Sony, figured that the studio would realize about $38 million in profit if “Spectre” performed as “Skyfall” did. (Sony earned about $57 million from “Skyfall,” which was less expensive to make, while MGM collected roughly $175 million and Eon’s share amounted to $109 million.) There is one other factor working against Sony. Pascal’s exit? “Yes,” she said. “Amy has been a big part of the success of these movies, and we adore her.” Asked which Sony executive they are closest to now, Ms. In 1967, while in Japan on the set of “You Only Live Twice,” she had a serious case of tonsillitis and recuperated in Sean Connery’s suite, which was the best appointed. Friends say an even more charismatic woman emerges in private. “She is vivacious and funny and smart and extremely warmhearted and the most loyal person you will ever meet,” Mr. She hates it when producers try to make it about them.” It may be the ultimate sign of power in Hollywood: She has nothing to prove, and does not need to curry favor with studios.

Then, working in their stately London offices near the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly, they try to channel the fears and insecurities of the global moviegoing audience. “We think, ‘What is the world afraid of? Mendes said. “There is no way we would have completed the film on time without the way Barbara managed Daniel and Daniel’s injury.” Asked about her handling of the incident, Ms.

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