How close did Dalton come to doing Goldeneye?

With pleasure. Only, I will stay and you will go away. Shall we say two weeks?

And do not bother to come back, unless it’s in a less argumentative mood.

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Bond movies certainly don’t make more than their predecessors. The Dalton movies were horribly received in the US and to blame Moore or fatigue is a bunch of hooey. The best argument you can make is he was the wrong Bond at the wrong time but I can’t imagine a time that would have been right for him.

He lacked the look and the charisma to ever be successful. He may reflect the book Bond better than the other actors but that ship sailed when Connery first lit his cigarette in Dr. No.

US Box Office adjusted for inflation…
1 Thunderbal $673,948,000
2 Goldfinger $597,363,000
3 Skyfall $340,956,400
4 You Only Live Twice $323,494,900
5 Moonraker $252,380,900
6 Die Another Day $248,532,100
7 Tomorrow Never Dies $242,469,700
8 From Russia, with Love $240,235,300
9 Diamonds Are Forever $239,281,300
10 Casino Royale $229,112,400
11 The World Is Not Enough $223,932,800
12 GoldenEye $219,879,500
13 Quantum of Solace $211,281,300
14 Spectre $207,246,700
15 Octopussy $194,197,300
16 The Spy Who Loved Me $189,245,000
17 Live and Let Die $180,087,200
18 For Your Eyes Only $177,648,700
19 Dr. No $170,310,600
20 Never Say Never Again $158,555,500
21 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service $144,505,800
22 A View to a Kill $127,733,800
23 The Living Daylights $117,950,100
24 The Man with the Golden Gun $101,046,900
25 Licence to Kill $78,677,500

By the way, Leonard Maltin, in his famous movie guide, gave LTK 3 out of 4 stars, where it ranks as one of the better Bonds in that book.

Personally I think the film was pretty weak as a whole. It had some good moments and seemed to be a genuine attempt to reverse the damage done by the previous two movies. But this manifested as a lethargic, naval gazing fumble into something posing as drama.

It’s drama was all fur coat and no knickers and ultimately comes across as a way to at once utilise Dalton’s chops and keep the thesp happy in the role. The handful of intimate moments fail to capture the gravity they seek for Flemings cold realities and assassin’s brooding angst. This was finally put on screen in CR.

Instead of motivating the action, giving it emotional power, these affectations toward ‘drama’ end up simply killing the pace.

And as you say, the villains… what villains?

The 80s was certainly bond’s worst decade (thanks to decisions to try and maintain a business model rather than make movies. By Dalton the Bond team/crew/artisans were so stuck in these ways that, despite an apparently honest attempt to change things up with Dalton, the 80s Eon mantra of reproduce and release had taken too great a toll on the creative juices.

There’s no excuses when you look at the innovative, exciting action/thriller movies pouring out of the US in the 80s; Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and No Way Out were works of high art by comparison.

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Well done

Godwin’s Law - quality in film edition.

When someone writes down US Box Office takings “accounting for inflation”

I leave you in the capable hands of LTK’s box office competition.


Batman!, Bond!, Indy! how I loved that summer

30th anniversary screening is on at Prince Charles next month in London if anyone is around

I, alas, am not. Would’ve loved to see it in a cinema this year given the film is 30 this year, just as Batman as a character turns 80.

Still my favourite Batman movie.

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That ranking is taking all domestic box office figures adjusted for ticket price inflation as given from Box Office Mojo - but that’s putting all films together and adjusting every domestic result over 30 years.*

If we’re to compare AVTAK and TLD specifically however, it would be closer to the bone to take AVTAK‘s domestic b/o (50,327,960 $), adjust that result by the net average inflation given for that era for two years 2.6 percent per anno = 52,945,014 $ and compare this result with Dalton’s 51,185,897 $. Which is what the accountants have done back when, since they didn’t yet know the 30 years inflation rate for theatre tickets.

So from the point of view of 1987 - and if we ignore the amount of US inflation between TLD’s production and its theatrical run over several months - AVTAK came in roughly 1.8 million stronger domestically than TLD. Pardon me, that’s hardly clinically conclusive evidence for it being ‘horribly received’; unless we attribute the same horrible reception to AVTAK.

If that’s the argument you want to make, that is.

What we can compare on the other hand, demonstrably and easily, is that Moore’s box office for AVTAK roughly consisted of one third US ticket sales - while Dalton’s for TLD was only one quarter of it. That would support your argument - or you could argue the other way around, that the US market was losing import for the worldwide success of productions.


*Also, it’s a bit inconsistent: according to Box Mojo’s unadjusted domestic figures AVTAK’s b/o was 50,327,960 $. That’s 857,937 $ short of TLD’s 51,185,897 $. Which begs the question how AVTAK’s adjusted domestic b/o ends up almost 10 million $ ahead in this list, in spite of being merely two years older? That would make for some spectacular inflation in admission fees between 1985 and 1987.

Otherwise, the numbers just don’t add up.

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So AVTAK is now our high water mark?

1985 $3.55 a ticket.
1987 $3.91 a ticket.

36¢ in two years doesn’t seem so outlandish to me.

So where do those 10 million headspace come from, I wonder?

This is actually an interesting subject to explore. Certainly at the time, I felt Dalton lacked the screen presence of a Connery or Moore, and to be honest I haven’t changed my mind on that. What’s interesting is that the series by this point had built up a certain momentum (or inertia depending on your point of view) based on two extended runs by two charismatic performers. To the extent viewers at the time regarded either Lazenby or Dalton as comparative “failures”, it largely centered on this perceived lack of “star quality” compared to “the Big Two.” Connery and Moore had very different approaches to the character, but as long as they were glamorous, suave, capable and sexy (though YMMV), each in their own way, that was all that mattered. Purists might have fretted over “where’s the Fleming?” but most viewers just wanted someone with “star power” at the center of the circus.

Dalton was cut from a different cloth: he was one of those performers more interested in inhabiting a character than building a personal image that ported from role to role. (I always think of him as Neville Sinclair in “the Rocketeer,” saying, “It was ACTING!”) So I’ve always wondered whether his casting was a bold attempt to shift gears or just a serious miscalculation. Yes, he was good-looking and projected an air of confidence fitting for Bond, but once he got the role, he proceeded – predictably, if anyone had been paying attention beforehand – to immerse himself in Fleming and try to figure out how to play the part of Bond as he appeared in the novels.

But here’s the thing, and it’s as true in the Craig era as it was then: Fleming was not Shakespeare and Bond is not Hamlet. Literary Bond can be a fascinating character, but when you get down to it, he’s not a very deep one. Yet, Dalton jettisoned any attempts at “star power” (not his comfort zone, anyway) in favor of inhabiting a mostly two-dimensional character. He laid bare the dirty little secret that when it comes to Bond, there’s isn’t much “there” there. In retrospect, we could see that much of what we associated with Movie Bond – the humor, the non-stop sexcapades, the macho nonchalance – were tacked on after the fact and essential to making the character at all marketable. A certain percentage of Bond had to be Connery, or Moore, because – on screen anyway – 100% Bond would be deadly dull.

So at the end of the day, I don’t know: did Dalton really lack screen presence, or did he just make a miscalculation, assuming an actor’s duty is to hew to the author’s intent, and forgetting the series’ success was built on entertainment, not art? Did the producers miscalculate, hiring a lead for his looks and voice and forgetting that he was most comfortable hiding himself in a role, not altering a role to fit his personality? Whose idea was it to hire an “Olivier” type to play a “Cary Grant” role?

TLD is definitely uneven, and with hindsight we know it’s because it was a Moore-type Bond script adjusted on the fly to fit a more “Fleming” approach to the lead role. In the end, I would argue, trying to play a novel-accurate Bond in a more or less traditional “romp” Bond picture was a mistake, and made it feel like a Connery/Moore movie with a big hole where the star should have been. What we can’t know is what would have happened if Dalton had been cast much earlier on, and the whole picture could have skewed more fully into “Fleming” mode. Would it have been a failure, or a lauded re-invention of the franchise?

Or maybe LTK is the answer to that question. Or would be if it didn’t split folks evenly, and darn near completely.


Remember Licence To Kill had a botched marketing campaign in the US and likely other places with the late name change which affected its box office and ability to compete with a behemoth like the first Batman movie for 20 years, the final Indiana Jones movie with Sean Connery and a family box office hit in Honey I Shrunk The Kids, vs “another Bond movie” re: LTK box office

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Licence to Kill was released at the wrong time. Despite it being a pretty much quintessential 80s movie, as stated above, it came at a time when Bond fatigue was hitting pretty hard and many other action films were clouding the box office that Bond seemed to get lost. I’m sure the name change didn’t help matters. What’s sad is, IMO, LTK is one of, if not the best, films in the canon.


It would be intriguing to learn what lit-Bond thinks about his screen persona and vice versa. Chances are they’d not view each other very favourable.

Would there even have been room for an ‘authentic’ back-to-roots depiction? For a long time the Eon direction of making Bond over the top wasn’t questioned and the few instances where they did try the audience’s support wasn’t entirely with them. I even remember a fellow fan from the days past LTK who vehemently argued Moore must return. I’m afraid the hardcore Fleming fans have always been in the minority and the greater audience wanted their personality-Bonds as depicted by Connery and Moore.

They wouldn’t like each other at all, I mean Connery Bond ties his tie with a WINDSOR knot
( we all know what lit Bond thought of that)


Star power is a curious, indefinable thing and unfortunately, TD as Bond never achieved that unspoken “click” with the audience. That said, I think there were two circumstances that didn’t help.

1 - I don’t think he (or any other actor with a “lower” profile than an already known leading man) was going to overcome the notion that they were a late sub for the “Remington Steele” guy. Brozza as Bond in '86 was seemingly a done deal. Until it wasn’t. EON and the studio did their best (articles in Vanity Fair, the usual go round of publicity) but for the great unwashed, he wasn’t even the “other fella”, just the late fill in.

2- As Dustin as mentioned - the great unwashed don’t care about the source material. Bond is SC and/or Sir Rog, so going “back to Fleming” doesn’t get you any points (at least not back then). And while David M’s assertion that literary Bond isn’t that deep (a debate for another day and one that I’m not sure exactly where I stand!!!), I do think that TD brought a humanity and depth to the character that had not been done before. Regardless of whether or not it was Fleming “a la mode” it was still an acting achievement.

No, Bond’s not Hamlet, but what was SC’s quote “it can be a role harder than Hamlet”!!?