As Spectre hits cinemas, the James Bond franchise’s ability to stay relevant in fast-changing times will be the envy of many a UK business leader
Three years after Skyfall smashed through the $1bn (£650m) ceiling at the global box office, Bond is back. And, while we won’t spoil the plot if you’re yet to see Spectre, the 24th instalment of the highest-grossing film franchise of all time when inflation is considered – $6bn has been raked into box offices worldwide to date – promises to be a sizzling ride for viewers and the UK film industry alike. Indeed, in its first day in British cinemas (Tuesday 27 October), the film took £6.3m, narrowly overtaking the £6.2m its predecessor took on its inaugural day in 2012. Meanwhile, in the US, Spectre is estimated to make $75-80m (£48-52m), according to online film magazine deadline.com.
What we can say, though, is that the film will see 007 (Daniel Craig in his fourth outing) take on the titular Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, which we last saw in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). A stunning £24m-worth of high-end vehicles have reportedly been destroyed during production, many during a high-speed chase that takes in the Vatican, the Colosseum and the river Tiber (as well as Rome, filming has taken place in Tangier, Mexico City and Austrian ski resort Sölden).
But with the movie expected to exceed Skyfall’s takings, the board at London-headquartered Eon Productions is unlikely to be breaking sweat. Besides Craig, Ralph Fiennes (M), Naomie Harris (Moneypenny) and Ben Whishaw (Q) revisit the franchise, while newcomers include Monica Bellucci, Léa Seydoux, Dave Bautista and double Oscar-winner Christoph Waltz, who plays villain Franz Oberhauser.
James Bond is as famous a British institution as the Proms, the Beatles and the royal family – and a vast boon to UK business. We’d say it was high time 007 won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – if only it wouldn’t blow his cover.