Bond. James Bond (by the numbers)

The most successful movie franchise in history starts with a pair of zeros.
The most successful movie franchise in history starts with a pair of zeros.

mPaying Attention.  I was in junior high school, looking for something to read on a beach trip, when I ran across Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale in the paperback section of a Walgreen’s Drug Store in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It seem interesting and so, for about a dollar and change, I bought it.  Hours later I was finished and back at Walgreen’s looking for another installment of James Bond. I read on that trip every one of the Fleming novels that were published at the time, one after the other, in a mood that can only be described as “binge reading”.  I was hooked because Fleming’s combination of brand-name character development coupled with spy novelist intrigue was perfect for those (and these) times. Fleming, as it turned out, was one of the best–if not the very best–writers of spy novels and his creation, an English secret agent named Bond, James Bond, (named after a rather famous ornithologist and whose life/lifestyle were modeled, loosely, on Fleming’s own life) ultimately became not just a world-wide literary sensation but the centerpiece of one of the most profitable, successful, movie franchises in history. To date, there have been a total of 26 James Bond movies,  (all but two produced by EON Productions) with Bond played by 6 different actors (7 different actors if you include the non-EON produced films). Great details on all the Bond films can be found on this Wikipedia site. You probably have your own list of top James Bond films, but since the franchise has been around for 50+ years, it’s always interesting to see how the films stack up over time. As Bond’s popularity and cultural reach have expanded, he has influenced everything from movie title design to automobile sales (admit it: you didn’t know much about Aston Martin until James Bond started driving an Aston DB5 on the screen).  With the latest James Bond film, Spectre, scheduled for release on 6 November 2015 (this coming Friday), it seems like a good time to take a look the impact that James Bond and the James Bond films have had on modern cultural. Start with this Nifty piece on the James Bond series and it’s success , by the numbers, over the decades, all done with graphics. From The Economist, a British publication that’s really, really, good with numbers (and economics).  Click back to this blog when you’re finished with the Economist link and get Roger Moore’s tips on how to make the perfect Vodka Martini (even though he personally prefers gin).  James Bond has always been a character defined by brands and increasingly they are very exclusive ones.  For a terrific breakdown of the brands/items/cost of the things in James Bond’s life,  read this nice piece from Bloomberg.Com, which followed that post with an analysis of Bond’s characteristic by screen time.  If you’re interested in investing in Bonds, James Bonds, consider the movie posters. They’re bringing very good money during an auction in progress, right now, at Christie’s. You can bid from the comfort of your chair at the club, since the auction is online. Because it’s Bond, there is, of course, some interesting maneuvers going on behind the release of  Spectre; the most interesting business question is will SONY, who has worked with EON and MGM to distribute the film series, maintain distribution rights.   It’s the big movie time of the year and Bond is back. What could be more fun.
The Fine Print: Photo (C) Raoul Luoar from Goldfinger (1974) starring Sean Connery as James Bond. Photo via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.  The photo has not been altered.  The car Connery is standing in front of is an Aston Martin DB5 (they made two for the film, one very tricked out, the other not). 

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