Discuss Thunderball

I hadn't seen this anywhere before so I took the estimated world population of the release year of every single Bond film and used it as a divisor against that of the year of Spectre's release to give a multiplying factor which can be used alongside the usually seen inflation adjusted numbers.

Here are the results with Thunderball coming out on top:-

  1. Thunderball $2,198,201,223
  2. Goldfinger $2,017,488,994
  3. You Only Live Twice $1,572,874,535
  4. Live and Let Die $1,518,838,537
  5. From Russia with Love $1,302,797,359
  6. Diamonds Are Forever $1,241,565,392
  7. The Spy Who Loved Me $1,187,752,827
  8. Skyfall $1,145,522,895
  9. Moonraker $1,086,850,049
  10. Dr. No $1,018,556,960
  11. On HM's Secret Service $1,009,319,819
  12. Spectre $880,669,186
  13. Man with the Golden Gun $809,816,584
  14. For Your Eyes Only $778,504,034
  15. Casino Royale $741,890,577
  16. Goldeneye $674,246,020
  17. Quantum of Solace $673,019,991
  18. Octopussy $658,690,648
  19. Die Another Day $631,993,795
  20. The World is Not Enough $593,375,000
  21. Tomorrow Never Dies $593,288,848
  22. The Living Daylights $550,081,015
  23. A View to a Kill $479,893,730
  24. Licence to Kill $397,820,654

15 replies (on page 1 of 1)

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Neat! A few questions...

  1. Are we extrapolating from this that money is a linear indicator of "success" or even quality of the film?

  2. Can you add Never Say Never Again to this? Yeah, I know, non-canonical, but it's such a hoot of a movie (to me, anyway) and, given it being a remake, it might be interesting to see how it stacks up against the original. Which brings me to...

  3. What about ROI? For example, NSNA raked in >4x its budget (grossed $160M on a $36M budget), pretty good return on investment. How'd the other Bond films do? (And, yes, I could cobble this together but it appears your in a number-crunching zone, might be easy if you're on a roll).

@DRDMovieMusings said:

Neat! A few questions...

  1. Are we extrapolating from this that money is a linear indicator of "success" or even quality of the film?

Personally, I wouldn't say you could use it as an specific indicator of quality. "Success"? Maybe, but as you point out below ROI is another indicator which might be more useful. I just did this because people commonly point to inflation adjusted box office figures which I think are useless in isolation unless also trying to account for the market size in some way...

  1. Can you add Never Say Never Again to this? Yeah, I know, non-canonical, but it's such a hoot of a movie (to me, anyway) and, given it being a remake, it might be interesting to see how it stacks up against the original. Which brings me to...

I won't include it in the list but assuming the proximity to Octopussy allows the same inflation and population factors to be used, and taking NSNA's BO of $160m against Octopussy's $187.5m it comes out adjusted as ~ $562m. So around 22nd place if added into the official release list...

  1. What about ROI? For example, NSNA raked in >4x its budget (grossed $160M on a $36M budget), pretty good return on investment. How'd the other Bond films do? (And, yes, I could cobble this together but it appears your in a number-crunching zone, might be easy if you're on a roll).

I agree that ROI is another interesting set of figures to look at - luckily I don't have to work those one's out as someone else already did it 😉 Have a look here (scroll down to the 4th set of figures):-
https://www.thejamesbonddossier.com/james-bond-films/box-office-figures-for-the-james-bond-series.htm

Dr No out in front as you may expect, but as the chap points out marketing costs aren't included which in all likelihood would reduce the percentage further on the more recent releases...

@The Midi-chlorian Count You rock! But, no love for NSNA?!

@DRDMovieMusings said:

@The Midi-chlorian Count You rock! But, no love for NSNA?!

You know I recently finished rewatching them but skipped NSNA - never watched it for ages but will make sure I rectify that soon 👍

Out of interest - what's your thoughts on how it stacks up vs Thunderball?

@The Midi-chlorian Count said:

@DRDMovieMusings said:

@The Midi-chlorian Count You rock! But, no love for NSNA?!

You know I recently finished rewatching them but skipped NSNA - never watched it for ages but will make sure I rectify that soon 👍

Out of interest - what's your thoughts on how it stacks up vs Thunderball?

Great question! I started watching Thunderball, and I think I fell asleep! I will definitely put effort into seeing the movie through, and the circle back here. Stay tuned...

I don't think adjusting for population like that really can tell you which movie was most successful at the box office.

Other changes in the industry have had an effect on how movies perform. Before 1980, there wasn't nearly as much competition from cable television or home video or later on the internet and piracy.

IMO a better way of judging would be to compare a movie's gross to others released during the same period of time. How did Skyfall do compared to other movies released that year, under similar conditions?

@FlyingSaucersAreReal said:

I don't think adjusting for population like that really can tell you which movie was most successful at the box office.

Other changes in the industry have had an effect on how movies perform. Before 1980, there wasn't nearly as much competition from cable television or home video or later on the internet and piracy.

IMO a better way of judging would be to compare a movie's gross to others released during the same period of time. How did Skyfall do compared to other movies released that year, under similar conditions?

Comparing gross to others released during same period isn't quite fair either. Some movies are released when everything else is crap. Other times, a whole slew of great movies come out, but there's only so much money/time people have to spend at the movies, so there are times when a great movie misses sales since an even greater movie was also out; and vice versa, sometimes a movie benefits from little competition.

In so saying, I also recognize that return on investment, alone, is not a terrific indicator either. Transformers movies make a crapton of money, while some other film far more layered and intriguing may not do well at box office but go on to become a cult classic on video.

I was just pointing out the flaw in the OP's claim that in general movies that came out decades ago were at a disadvantage because of the lower population. They also have some advantages over modern movies, too.

The number one thing the studios and producers look at is return on investment and how that movies competition did, though. They've all done well. There's a reason they are still making them! But Craig is being offered huge piles of money to come back for one or two more goes, so obviously his take on the character has done well too.

I was just pointing out the flaw in the OP's claim that in general movies that came out decades ago were at a disadvantage because of the lower population.

My only claim was that what is the commonly displayed inflation adjusted figures aren't in themselves much use and that the changing world population must have some effect what you could expect a film from the 60s take against today...

The reason I started thinking about this was because I saw the adjusted figures of Live and Let Die were so close to Spectre and I started thinking that must have meant Live and Let Die was huge back in it's day.

I know it's not 100% accurate but I'm not even sure if using world population growth alone is too loose or too conservative? I know western population growth is a wee bit behind world (I think going back to the 60s the USA was ~ 1.7 compared to world ~2.1 - don't have spreadsheet available right now) but how does this balance against pushing into Asian markets, rise of multiplexes, etc... Very hard to closely model.

What is funny though is looking at ROI on these two films on that link above - Live and Let Die also comes very near the top on that basis as well with Spectre even further down. Also Connery generally nearing the top, followed by Moore, with Dalton nearing the bottom is common to both lists so maybe generally it's a better indicator than inflation adjusted in isolation...

What is funny though is looking at ROI on these two films on that link above - Live and Let Die also comes very near the top on that basis as well with Spectre even further down. Also Connery generally nearing the top, followed by Moore, with Dalton nearing the bottom is common to both lists so maybe generally it's a better indicator than inflation adjusted in isolation...

Thunderball and Dr. No have pretty impressive audience numbers. 60 and 54 million. That's around 1 in 3 people in the US going to see the movie. Of course, a lot of those were probably repeats. Bond movies are the type that its fans can watch over and over again. And back then, once a movie was done at the theaters, you never got a chance to see it again until they showed it on television.

The numbers are interesting to look at, seeing how things like budgets have changed over the years. Even the weakest Bond movies commercially did pretty well. It's obvious why they keep making them 50 years later.

@FlyingSaucersAreReal said

The numbers are interesting to look at, seeing how things like budgets have changed over the years. Even the weakest Bond movies commercially did pretty well. It's obvious why they keep making them 50 years later.

I meant to say the budgets are indeed interesting. A couple of notable hikes that I couldn't really understand just looking at the non adjusted figures:-
Goldeneye (1995) - $65m to Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - $110m
and
Casino Royale (2006) - $102m to Quantum of Solace (2008) - $230m 😲

I wonder what caused such huge hikes?

@FlyingSaucersAreReal said:

But Craig is being offered huge piles of money to come back for one or two more goes, so obviously his take on the character has done well too.

I wonder how the first Bond movie with a new Bond does compared to the last of the previous Bond? Could part of Craig's salary offer be putting off a looming actor change that might depress sales?

Do the last movies of an actor playing Bond do well or poorly because he's over-stayed his welcome and looks long in the tooth? Or does it all just depend on the actor?

@The Midi-chlorian Count said:

@FlyingSaucersAreReal said

The numbers are interesting to look at, seeing how things like budgets have changed over the years. Even the weakest Bond movies commercially did pretty well. It's obvious why they keep making them 50 years later.

I meant to say the budgets are indeed interesting. A couple of notable hikes that I couldn't really understand just looking at the non adjusted figures:-
Goldeneye (1995) - $65m to Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - $110m
and
Casino Royale (2006) - $102m to Quantum of Solace (2008) - $230m 😲

I wonder what caused such huge hikes?

It's not like Quantum looks that much better either.

@DRDMovieMusings said:

@FlyingSaucersAreReal said:

But Craig is being offered huge piles of money to come back for one or two more goes, so obviously his take on the character has done well too.

I wonder how the first Bond movie with a new Bond does compared to the last of the previous Bond? Could part of Craig's salary offer be putting off a looming actor change that might depress sales?

Do the last movies of an actor playing Bond do well or poorly because he's over-stayed his welcome and looks long in the tooth? Or does it all just depend on the actor?

Good question!

Looking at the figures above, and the inflation adjusted and ROI figures from the link above there's generally the same results on all basis:-

Lazenby drops from Connery.
Moore kicks on from Connery.
Dalton kicks on from Moore (asides from ROI)
Brosnan kicks on from Dalton.
Craig kicks on from Brosnan.

You'd think perhaps being able to offer a lesser salary to a new actor combined with increased public interest should cause this to happen I guess... Which is weird considering, like you say, Craig being offered big bucks to come back even though Spectre is near the bottom of the ROI pile...

I'm building my own personal Movie ROI Database that measures, among other things, the ROI for each movie vs. all the movies I have in my database of the same release year. When I can get all these Bond movies into it, I'll circle back with a link.

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