Die can wait, coming out on October 6 on screens, is the 25th official opus of the adventures of James Bond, which in six decades has become a global cultural phenomenon. 007 is famous for the actors who played him, for the improbable gadgets he uses, for his cult lines. Born from the pen of Ian Fleming, it has grown into a very lucrative business.
A paper hero
James Bond is first and foremost a hero of a novel, sold over sixty million copies worldwide. The spy was born seven decades ago from the pen of Britain’s Ian Fleming, a journalist who drew on his experience as Her Majesty’s spy during the war.
The first novel of the adventures of 007, Casino Royale, appeared in 1953. Eleven others followed, including Goldfinger, Dr No or Good kisses from Russia, as well as a series of short stories, before his death at 56, in 1964. Two years after the release of the first of the films, James Bond vs. Dr No.
In Her Majesty’s Service, The World Is Not Enough, Skyfall or Die another day... Each generation has had its cult James Bond, in all 25 films that make up the official cinema saga. They are still produced by the descendants of one of the historic producers, Albert R. Broccoli.
Six performers for a unique character
Sean Connery, who inaugurated the role in Dr No and starred in six of the first films, remains for many the ultimate James Bond, alpha male, killer and misogynist, driven by an irresistible charisma.
Five other actors have succeeded in the role: George Lazenby, the only Australian of the band, for a single film, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, then Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. Who will be the next one ?
MI6, 007, Q, M …
Her Majesty’s Secret Agent, James Bond works for MI6, British Foreign Intelligence. The first “0” of “007” means that he has the license to kill, the second that he has already done so, and the “7” identifies him within the service.
M is the leader of Bond. Actress Judi Dench made history by feminizing the role, from 1995 ((GoldenEye) to 2012. Q is Bond’s colleague responsible for providing him with the most advanced gadgets … Not to mention Miss Moneypenny, M’s private secretary, with whom James Bond never fails to flirt.
Would the saga have the same success without its cult lines? There is the most famous of all, “Bond, James Bond”, and ordering prepared vodka-martini cocktails “with a shaker, not with a spoon”. There are also all those which testify to the humor “Bond”, mixture of sometimes muddy puns and machismo to be taken in the first or second degree – according to the time. Of which this 007 declaring to a “James Bond Girl”, “Miss Anders? I didn’t recognize you fully dressed” (in The man with the golden gun, 1974).
James Bond would be nothing without his villains, from diamond dealer Goldfinger to the criminal organization SPECTER, headed by the infamous Blofeld. To combat them, he unsheathed countless gadgets, from the most formidable to the most unlikely: cigarettes trapped in You Only Live Twice, Aston Martin with rotating number plates, nail ejector and ejection seat, trapped ski pole, laser watch …
A big money story
According to specialist Guillaume Evin, taking inflation into account, the series brought in $ 16.7 billion in cumulative revenue (€ 14.25 billion). James Bond is one of the most profitable franchises in the history of cinema, initiated fifteen years before Star Wars. A champion of product placement, James Bond is a popular showcase for luxury brands, alcohol, cars and other watches.
Treasure 007 passed this year under the banner of e-commerce giant Amazon, which announced the takeover of Hollywood studio MGM for $ 8.45 billion.