Author Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) wrote the first James Bond novel in 1952–Casino Royale. He had some real experience as he penned a book about a member of the British secret service who had the code name 007. Fleming had been in Naval Intelligence during WWII. Eventually, his books about Bond had sales of over 100 million copies. Three Bond movies were released before or during the year he died–Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963), and Goldfinger (1964). The 26 movie franchise has been a wild success, bringing in well over $2 billion at the domestic box office.
As with any long-standing movie series — the first Bond film “Dr. No” has its 60th anniversary next year — there are some clunkers among the gems. The best evoke the tensions of the Cold War (“From Russia With Love” “The Living Daylights”), while others had plots that were just plain silly, like “Moonraker.” Even poorly reviewed examples like “A View to a Kill” rang up cash registers at the theatre. Nor have audiences been turned off by the changing face of Bond. Seven actors have played Bond, led by the most popular, Sean Connery. And there will soon be an eighth: Daniel Craig has indicated he will bow out after “No Time To Die” debuts in the fall.
To determine the James Bond movie that did best at the box office, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on the domestic box office for all 26, as of May 2021, from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. Box office figures were adjusted for inflation using historical ticket prices from the National Association of Theatre Owners and the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ratings came from IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon. The audience score is from Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie, and TV review aggregator. Information from both was gathered from April to May 2021.
The top-grossing Jame Bond movie is Thunderball released in 1965. Here are the details:
> Domestic box office: $477.5 million
> IMDb rating: 7.0
> Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 73%
> Starring: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi
This top-grossing Bond film has all the elements of what makes a Bond film a Bond film — exotic locations, thrilling action sequences (this time mostly done underwater), and a madman who wants to rule the world. SPECTRE is at the center of a plan to steal two NATO atomic bombs and hold them for ransom. Yet this time, Blofeld isn’t the instigator; it’s another SPECTRE member, Emilio Largo.
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