The trial was set to start the day after the world premiere of the new Bond adventure, “The World Is Not Enough,” and just 10 days before the national release of the film on Nov. 19. The original suit had McClory allied with Sony two years ago, just as MGM was opening the last 007 movie, “Tomorrow Never Dies.” Sony settled with MGM earlier this year but octogenarian McClory is continuing with his part.
MGM has been successful in getting the trial moved back from the unfortunate timing of the morning after Monday’s world premiere of the “The World Is Not Enough.” The new trial date for the lawsuit brought by “Thunderball” producer Kevin McClory has been moved to Feb. 22.
McClory’s attorney Tom Girardi said Tuesday he is pleased with the delay because by that time “The World Is Not Enough” should be yet another successful installment in the Bond franchise. McClory claims that he is entitled to certain rights and profits relating to the entire 37-year-old Bond movie franchise because he collaborated with 007 author-creator Ian Fleming in translating Bond from books to cinema.
Girardi said he was also pleased by the court’s decision not to hold a separate trial on the issue of whether McClory waited too long to sue, regardless of whether there is merit to McClory’s claim. “The World Is Not Enough” opens in theaters Nov. 19. A settlement of McClory’s original suit against Fleming in 1963 resulted in McClory getting rights to “Thunderball,” which was remade as “Never Say Never Again” in 1983 with original 007 Sean Connery after another court battle. That film was distributed by Warner Bros. A pretrial hearing in the pending lawsuit has been set for Feb. 14.
The plaintiffs of this case, which include Eighteen Leasing, Seventeen Leasing, United Artists Pict, United Artists Corp, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Danjaq LLC appealed last Wednesday for a continuance in the trial which Judge Rafeedie has now granted.
McClory was a no-show – apparently U.S. visa problems kept him on the Isle of Man – but U.S. District Court Judge Edward Rafeedie ruled that McClory had delayed too long in bringing his suit alleging that he is the co-creator with Ian Fleming of the cinematic Bond.
Rafeedie then dismissed the case on the ground of laches – a legal term for excessive delay – without proceeding to a jury trial on McClory`s copyright claims.
MGM attorney Pierce O`Donnell said the ruling was “a total vindication” for the studio. McClory`s attorneys declined comment.
Briefly outlining the 40-year history of Bond litigation, Rafeedie pointed out that there have been at least three major lawsuits involving McClory and the Bond rights, but that it was not until 1997 that McClory alleged he was the co-owner of the Bond character.
In 1997, Sony announced it had purchased McClory`s Bond rights and would use them as the basis for a competing Bond franchise. MGM promptly sued, and that phase of the case ended in March 1999 with a settlement that put Sony out of the Bond business. But McClory vowed to press on, and the current trial is the tail end of MGM`s suit against Sony.
Rafeedie found last week that McClory had delayed at least 36 years in bringing his claim of Bond ownership despite numerous opportunities to do so.
Rafeedie also found that MGM and the other defendants had been”prejudiced” (damaged) by the delay because virtually all the witnesses who could “potentially help untangle McClory`s web of allegations and intrigue are long dead.”
The lengthy list included Fleming himself; Richard Maibaum, the original Bond scriptwriter; and producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. Rafeedie also noted the severe economic prejudice to MGM and the producer if McClory were now allowed to claim profits. He also found that there was no willful copyright infringement that would overcome a defense of laches.
Is this really the end of the James Bond sideshow?
Although Rafeedie`s ruling seems conclusive, as the expression goes, “Never Say Never Again.”
Who`s in it: No stars are firmly attached, though McClory, in interviews has stated Connery is interested in playing the villian. He`s also expressed an interest in getting Timothy Dalton to play Bond. Thanks to `Peril` and `fotball` for their help.
Who`s directing it: No director has been announced.
Who`s writing it: Presumably Kevin McClory, but expect others to do rewrite duties.
Who`s scoring it: Possible names include John Barry, but that`s very doubtful. The Bond theme is the property of EON and MGM/UA. Barry is unlikely to ever score a Bond picture again if he doesn`t have access to that material.
When will it be released: Never.
Locations covered: Ireland, New York and Australia.
The Path to Warhead 2001 A.D
The James Bond 007 franchise has been the most sucessful movie series of all time, in part because the legal rights have been owned by the same studio and the same family over the years. So how is it that Never Say Never Again and the proposed Warhead 2001 A.D have managed to be made or considered outside the scope of the Broccoli family (the owners of the films rights) or MGM/UA (the studio with distribution rights)?
1959-1965 Back in the late 1950`s, Bond author Ian Fleming began collaborating with screenwriter Kevin McClory. McClory had convinced Fleming, who at the time was trying to adapt his novels into working screenplays, that perhaps the first Bond film should not be based upon one of Fleming`s novels, but instead should be based on a wholly original script. Fleming agreed, and in time they were joined by Jack Whittingham. Several versions of “78 Longtitude West”, which would eventually become the basis of the novelThunderball were developed. The original financing for the film that McClory had hoped for fell through, and this seemed to precipitate the dissolution of the scriptwriting team.
Fleming retreated to Jamaica where he innocently (or not depending upon whose telling the story) took many of the ideas from the discarded “78 Longtitude West” scripts and turned them into his latest novel titled Thunderball. The name Thunderball was based on an old NATO term for stolen nuclear bombs.
Kevin McClory got a copy of Fleming`s work within weeks of it going to press in 1961, and of course was furious. Many of his ideas and collaborations ended up in a novel that he got no credit for. He sought an injuction against the book, but it was too late. So he sued, and ended up settling the case before it went to trial. Included in this judgement were the film (and T.V rights that are in dispute) to Thunderball. But it took nearly 3 years to resolve the suit and by that time Bond was big in both literature and on the screen. McClory shopped his rights around to other studios, but no one wanted to challenge the MGM/UA team, nor it`s ever increasingly popular star, Sean Connery.
McClory finally approached Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, then co-producers of the series, and discussed selling the film rights to Thunderball to them. McClory sold his rights to Thunderball for 20% of the film`s profit, a producer`s credit, and the option to remake Thunderball 10 years after it`s inital release date. Because Thunderball was so huge at the box office (adjusted for inflation, it made the same amount of money as Jurassic Park) McClory became rich and he got to work with top star Sean Connery. He was happy. And both Broccoli and Saltzman were happy, because it seemed like the legal issues were resolved, and neither one imagined that Bond would still be alive and kicking 10 years later. They assumed, wrongly, that Bond mania would have run it`s course by then.
1975- 1983 After the ten year period was up, McClory did begin trying to exercise his option to remake Thunderball. Why is up for debate. Money? Probably. But other things had happened that may have convinced him to strike now while he still could. Obviously he had to wait the ten year period out, but 1974-75 brought changes to the real Bond series that McClory may have felt comfortable trying to exploit. After the failure of The Man With The Golden Gun at the box office, it looked like the 007 series was losing it`s steam and it`s audience. Harry Saltzman sold his half of the series to Albert Broccoli. Broccoli was determined to show that Bond was still viable, and he didn`t need another Bond project interfering and competing with what would eventually become Bond`s comeback.
Broccoli began fighting McClory in court, trying to stop him from producing his version of a Bond film. It was a losing battle. No one could honestly dispute that McClory had the legal right to do Bond, so the best thing Broccoli could hope for was to keep McClory honest. That was a job in itself. Original versions of McClory`s script entitled “James Bond of Her Majestey`s Secret Service” and it`s alternate title “Warhead” strayed too far from the Thunderball premise. Elements in the script included robotic sharks swimming through the sewers of underground Manhattan, and a spectacular climactic fight on top of the Statue of Liberty.
Between 1976 and 1981 McClory shopped his rights around, but to no avail. With the enormous success of both The Spy Who Love Me and Moonraker, no other studio wanted to touch the legal issues nor fight against a proven, revitalized, and rejuvinated box office winner. That is until McClory convinced Sean Connery to return.
Up to this point, Connery had been standoff-ish about returning as Bond. But McClory gave Connery script duties, as well as producers credit on the film. With job duties involving more than simply starring, Connery`s interest was peaked and soon the ball got rolling on what would become Never Say Never Again.
1983 to the present Never Say Never Again hit U.S. theaters in 1983 and was a moderate success. Octopussy, on the other hand, came out several months beforehand and was an unqualified smash. Still, the news was that Connery was back, and no one seemed to mind the decidedly lackluster results in `Never`. The film did well enough in America and overseas to get McClory talking about about making more films. But that`s all it`s been. Just talk.
For all of McClory`s latest manueverings and deep pocket backing (Sony), his strategy seems to be the same as it always has been; to essentially push the envelope and test EON`s resolve to protect it`s assests. The feud goes back as long as many Bond fans have been around, and after you read McClory`s press release from July 20th, 1989, you`ll understand that there is bitter hatred between the two camps, personal egos in play, and a war in progress.
Though the war traces it`s roots back to the late 1950`s, we`re dipping into the archives of the mid-1980`s onward with articles and advertisements from both sides that show nothing McClory is trying now is really anything new. Starting with the February 15th, 1984 issue of Variety, McClory set off a new round of acrimony by announcing the following:
Paradise Film Productions III
(Special Executive for Counter Intelligence, Terrorism and Extortion)
An important announcement
will be made shortly.
(Producers, Thunderball, Executive Producer “Never Say Never Again”)
Apparently, flush with pride from the fairly successful Never Say Never Again, McClory decided to try and “license or sell certain James Bond properties including “SPECTRE”. In the Wednesday, May 9th edition of Variety, McClory took out another full page ad, this time proclaiming:
Paradise Film Productions III
Have Acquired The Right
To License or Sell Certain
Special Executive For Counter Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion
Bids Will Be Considered Shortly
Nothing much happened on the McClory front until February of 1988. This time McClory took out another Variety ad dated February 10th, 1988 and stated the following:
With It`s Chairman
Ernst Stavros Blofeld
to the JAMES BOND novel
(Published in 1961)
“THUNDERBALL” was based on “Film Scripts” written
& Ian Fleming
Prior to June 4th 1960
NOTE: The Organization SPECTRE was used as Bond`s adversaries in several of the James Bond films which were based on novels in which the Organization SPECTRE did not exist; including the first two films in the series, DR. NO , FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE 
THE SPECTRE CORPORATION HAS ACQUIRED THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO OFFER LICENSES TO MAKE
United Artists immediately followed that announcement up with one of their own: a warning What follows is a Spring and Summer full of ads placed in Variety, with each side touting that they have the rights the other side is claiming to possess. To view a copy of United Artists own counterclaim in Variety, click here for Warning Page One and here for Warning Page Two.
The following month of April found McClory returning fire against United Artists, calling them “Economical With The Truth!”. To read his ad in Varitey, click here for “Economical With The Truth Part One” and here for Part Two
But that wasn`t the end of it. During that Spring and Summer, McClory would issue three more warnings all saying pretty much the same thing. On August 3rd, 1988 he issued a new ad in Variety: “PIRACY” which will be displayed in the future. In the ad he warns UA, Danjaq and Broccoli they have no right to Blofeld or SPECTRE. He also reasserted his desire to create an animated Bond film. That led to nothing on his part because EON was able to squash the whole plan of McClory`s. It did lead to James Bond Jr though, an 60+ episode that featured James Bond`s nephew. The cartoon was meant as more of a counter point to McClory`s project than anything else, and helped to diminish the value of any future McClory animated projects.
With his planned projects alternatively titled SPECTRE vs. JAMES BOND, and WARHEAD 8 dead in the water, and angry over “The New Official James Bond Book” released in 1989 that seemed to ignore Kevin, McClory released a lengthy press report stating his side of the facts In it he describes, and possibly exaggerates ???? his contribution to the Bond series. At one point he refers to himself and Jack Whittingham thusly : “McClory and Whittingham were originators, not interlopers”. He also alludes to being at the “Conception of the Literary Evolution of the James Bond films”.
Click here for Press Release Page One, Page Two, Page Three, Page Four, Page Five, Page Six, and Page Seven. It would appear Kevin McClory has made more of his contribution to the legacy of James Bond than his contribution merits. The language in the press release issued nearly 9 years ago is very similar to the language used today. Same tactics. Same strategy. Same angles. It seems like the only ones who are getting rich off this feud are the lawyers and Variety.
But will Warhead 2001 A.D. really happen? Should it even be allowed to happen? Please read our commentary, pro and con, and decide for yourself.
Timothy Dalton was born in Colwyn Bay, Wales on Mar 21 1944. He is the first actor from Wales to portray 007, although he is part Irish and Italian as well. Timothy, and his family did not stay long in Colwyn Bay. Dalton`s childhood was in Manchester, Eng. He first got into acting because of both his grandfathers were involved with vaudeville. He continued to love the stage and joined the National Youth Theatre for 3 summers, and eventually found his way to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for 2 years. He finally got his first leading role while at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Dalton burst onto the big screen for the first time in 1968 with The Lion in Winter, which pit the future star against big name talent, such as Peter O`Toole, Katharine Hepburn and Antony Hopkins.
By 1970, Cubby Brocolli had his first meeting with a young Timothy Dalton. Almost instantly, Cubby, not wanting to ever make another George Lazenby-like mistake asked Timothy if after Diamonds Are Forever, would he like to become James Bond, in 1973! Although only Dalton and Brocolli know exactly what was said, apparently this was his reply: “No one follows Sean
Connery. He is James Bond.”
It was left at that for at least 9 years. Dalton hit the stage, doing television and movies; essentially anything he pleased. He costarred with future Bond sidekick Topol in the 1980 sci-fi film “Flash Gordon” as Prince Baron. Throughout the years Broccoli courted Dalton and his interest in returning the Bond series to a more serious tone, much like the novels. His big break finally came in 1986 when Pierce Brosnan, who was the front runner for the role of Bond, was unable to take the role. Broccoli turned to Dalton, who was, at the time, filming “Brenda Starr” with Brooke Shields (he played the character of Basil St. John). Dalton said yes, and immediatetly the writers got to work reshaping a script filled with gags and throw away lines originally written with Roger Moore in mind.
To impress Brocolli, Dalton went to every bookstore he could find and bought most, if not all, of Fleming`s books in an effort to humanize James Bond. In 1986, shooting his first Bond movie, `The Living Daylights`, many thought that he would be the man who could carry Bond into the 1990`s. Dalton`s portrayal of Bond was that almost dead on to the writings of Fleming and was a step back 25 years to the Bond of Dr. No and From Russia With Love. `The Living Daylights` was a hit in 1987, making more than $250 million world-wide. And, like any sucessful movie, instantly, there was talk of another in the line of Bond movies.
In 1988, Dalton once again started work on a new Bond film, this time in the sweltering heat of Mexico. `Licence to Kill` would prove to be his last film, though no one at the time knew this. The movie had a hard edge and Dalton`s performance was dead on, but audiences weren`t impressed with the movie. The film debuted at number four at the box office, by the second week tumbling to the number seven position, and by the third week was out of the Top 10 altogether. While the movie didn`t tank worldwide, it was a huge disappointment in the United States, and many began to blame Dalton`s portrayal of Bond as the reason. While it may not have been to everyone`s taste, Dalton was not the problem. Neither was he the answer.
Legal troubles for financially barren MGM studios, Bond`s lifelong film partner, proved to be overwhelming. In an effort to avoid having the Bond franchise devalued, EON began litigation to protect it`s interests, a court battle which lasted several years. In 1992, there was talk of using Fleming`s last remaining title, “Property of a Lady”, with Whoopi Goldberg, then Dalton`s girlfriend, as Bond`s nemesis; but eventually that fell through. . By the time the legal mess was sorted out, both sides, Dalton and EON, agreed to move on. In April 1994, Dalton officially resigned the role, citing an 8 year association with the role as being long enough. He never wanted for work. While distancing himself from James Bond, he was busy filming his role as Rhett Bulter in the film “Scarlett”, the sequel to “Gone With The Wind”.,
Dalton is still amazed at the power of 007,even 10 years after his last Bond movie, and two movies at that. Dalton is very quiet about his personal life. He is currently living with the mother of his two year old son, and has been linked in the past with a few of Hollywood`s leading ladies. He claims not to have had any regrets over leaving the James Bond series and has since added the role of Julius Caesar to his resume in the ABC mini-series “Cleopatra.”
Colwyn Bay, Wales England
Sean Connery was born August 25th, 1930 in Edinburgh Scotland, as Thomas Sean Connery. A school drop-out at age 13, Connery spent much of his teen years in libraries, reading and living out his dream acting on stage. By the time he had made it into his twenties, he was a model, body builder and chorus singer in many TV and movie roles. In 1957, he made his motion picture debut in `Action of a Tiger`, as a little known actor.
In 1959, he also composed one of his own numbers for the movie `Darby O Gill and the Little People`, which also featured his unknown singing talents.
By 1960, the search to find the actor to play James Bond had been started by Albert R. Broccoli, Harry Saltzman and Ian Fleming. Depending on who you talk to, it was either Saltzman or Broccoli`s wife, Daniella or Jaqueline who discovered Connery on a trip to the local cinema.
Phone calls were made and eventually they got Connery to a meeting. In the meeting, the two producers simply asked Connery to do a screen test. Connnery, married to his first wife at the time and without steady work made a bold stance. “I`ll be 007 without a screen test!” And that was that. Considering the competition to play Bond(which included Roger Moore, Patrick Macnee, Cary Grant and even David Niven), the move could have been taken as career suicide.
But, fortunately for Connery, the two producers, and Fleming agreed to sign him. The convincing factor was, however Terrence Young, who was the man who Connery should have thanked for the role. Shooting for Dr. No took place in Fleming`s home country of Jamaica in early 1962. Connery made $125,000.00 US for the part. The shoot was challenging, but nothing compared to the famous scene between 007 and a tarantula; Sean Connery is arachniphobic. He did the close-ups of his face on a sheet of glass, and the look of fear was very real.
Almost back to back, Connery, and the producers stamped out two more Bond pics: From Russia With Love and Goldfinger. In 1963, Connery was busy at work in non-Bond projects, including Alfred Hitchcock`s “Marnie”.
But by 1964 when Goldfinger opened, Bond was all the rage. He quickly donned the suit and Walther PPK of 007 once again in the UA released/Kevin McClory produced Thunderball. Thunderball made an enormous amount of money, but he felt that he was going to soon be type-cast as a spy/secret agent, and in 1967, quit the role.
Once he had shed the role of 007, he reunited with Bond girl, Honor Blackman for `Shalako`, a film about European aristocrats. In 1969, the year of George Lazenby`s only Bond movie, he didn`t have a movie released, and was spending more time towards his favorite passion, golf. As everyone remembers, his classic golf match from Goldfinger was the starting line for Connery with the game. He currently still plays the sport, even winning pro-ams with professional senior players.
But, in 1970 when audiences didn`t respond well to a Connery-less 007 movie, UA threw money his way to have him play Bond at least once more. He finally agreed with a clause that UA would have to finance two non-Bond films to get him back for Diamonds Are Forever.
But, with the end of Bond, came the end of his first marriage. His wife was publicly humilated when reports of her husband being seen with many of his leading ladies. He had a son, Jason with his first wife. Later in the seventies, Sean remarried, to the woman he is with today.
Connery finally shed all doubt about him playing 007 in 1974 when he played Col. Arbuthnot in the screen version of Agathia Christie`s `Murder on the Orient Express.`. He also impressed audiences in `The Man Who Would Be King` In 1976, he returned to another famous action hero, this time as Robin Hood in `Robin and Marian`, which reunited him with another Bond star, Robert Shaw. Now, totally non-involved with the role of Bond, he began to get roles like that of `Pierce` in Micheal Chricton`s `Great Train Robbery`, where he was a stylish British thief involved in the world`s first train robbery.
In 1983, he made an unremarkable return to Bond in the Warner Bros/Kevin McClory renegade movie, `Never Say Never Again`. When the movie failed, he vowed never again to play Bond.
Other roles in movies like `Family Business`, `Rising Sun`, `Dragonheart`, `The Russia House`, and others would follow, but in 1988, Connery finally got the respect of his peers when he won an Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his work as a Chicago police officer in `The Untouchables`. Many thought that Connery would finally turn towards serious dramatic work, but now in the last ten years, he has done anything but that. He played Harrison Ford`s father in the third Indiana Jones movie. Steven Spielberg has since said about the movie: “When casting Indy`s father, we all thought that only one man on Earth could play him, correctly, James Bond!”
In the 1990`s he has slowed his pace down, but when he does make a movie, they are action/adventure films. This started with the `Bond-esque` adventure movie `The Rock`(where he played a Britsh Spy locked up on Alcatraz during the 60`s), and the recent `Avengers`. In the last few years, Connery has turned his hand towards producing stage plays and earlier in 1998, won a Tony award for a play he and his wife produced.
After over forty years in the business, Thomas Sean Connery will probably go down in movie history with the likes of John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant, Orson Welles and many others, for a fine career. Probably the most ironic thing about Connery was in 1992, he was voted the World`s Sexiest Man, something he recieved at age 62, not something that would have been fitting nearly thirty years earlier.
Born in South London on October 14, 1927, Roger George Moore was not the strongest boy in the neighbourhood. Struggling with illness, the son of a policeman soon developed a quick-fire wit to counter his lack of physical prowess. A far cry from the opulence of Bond`s world, his father`s meagre Metropolitan salary ensured that the families treat was the now-common baked beans on toast.
Moore`s lower-middle-class roots, however, didn`t keep him from following his dreams. After being briefly evacuated to Worthing, in Sussex, England, Moore returned to London just before Dunkirk and entered a central school where he was finally able to pursue his first love of sketching and art.
The young artist`s first step onto the road that would lead him to take up the Walther PPK happened at the age of 15 when Moore was offered a job in an animated film business. Although he would ultimately be fired from his position, the role taught him vital lessons about editing and direction, skills that would become of great use later in his career.
After parting company with his animating employers, Moore strapped on a toga as an extra in in the 1946 film Caesar and Cleopatra, unaware that the insignificant role would lead him to enter the doors of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he stayed for a day. Call up papers cut short his budding career and after a brief tour of duty in the Army where he achieved the rank of Acting Captain, Moore returned to the real world of being a struggling actor.
The next few years saw Moore working for the BBC before moving to New York to work in live television and onto contract work for MGM studios. Hired as a pretty boy support actor, Moore was soon to become disenchanted with his Hollywood, leaving MGM after Diane, a poor film in which he suffered an injury suited in armour as the King of France. The return to England brought better fortune as Roger landed the role of the Saxon crusader in 13 episodes of The Adventures of Ivanhoe in 1957. Moore`s television career would continue two years later with The Alaskans under contract to Warner Brothers before he was forced to take over James Garner`s lead role in Maverick. Unhappy with the role, Moore went AWOL. On the day he was scheduled to report to wardrobe, Moore instead went gambling in Las Vegas.
Thankfully, the actor was more content with his next role, a part which would make him an everyday name. From 1962 to 1968 Roger Moore was Simon Templar, the rogue adventurer with an eyebrow that went into overdrive and a libido to match. During this time, a certain Cubby Broccoli would repeatedly consider him for the part of Ian Fleming`s James Bond, an idea which found favour from the man with the Golden Typewriter himself, although nothing would come of the suggestion over the next few years. After the final episode of The Saint aired, Moore continued to work in television in Lew Grade`s The Persuaders, playing Lord Brett Sinclair opposite Tony Curtis. The series failed to achieve big ratings when scheduled against Mission: Impossible and Moore was released from his five year contract to ITC.
The timing was perfect. Sean Connery had announced in 1972 that he would no longer don the tuxedo of James Bond and Eon Productions began the search for someone new to play the super-agent. After considering future Sherlock Holmes Jeremy Brett and veteran actor Julian Glover, later to become villain Kristatos in For Your Eyes Only, Broccoli once again turned his attention towards Moore. So it was that, on Saturday 14th October 1972, Roger Moore spent his 45th birthday as the suave Double-0 agent, fighting the mosquito hordes in a Louisiana swamp.
For an entire generation of 20-somethings Roger Moore was James Bond. Although the agent was a long way from Connery`s early performances, many believed that Moore perfectly captured Fleming`s original vision of the Etonian dropout who would go on to save the free world time and time again. Ironically, the films themselves would continue to move away from the literary Bond as the producers repeatedly stuck to a winning formula and sent the Commander into one outlandish mission after another. Moore himself had trouble seeing himself as the action man. After relinquishing the part, Moore would quip, “It was hard to believe in myself as a hero; in truth I found it rather insane to leap out of aeroplanes and all that.”
After finally passing the torch onto Timothy Dalton, believing that Bond was becoming a rather unattractive dirty old man, Moore would continue to act in lesser film roles. As the years passed the performer would face cancer as well as numerous rumours in the scandal sheets concerning his marriage and relationship problems.
Most recently, Moore`s work with UNICEF, the international organisation committed to helping children world-wide, has caught the public eye. Introduced to the charity by Audrey Hepburn, Moore has become its champion, loyally pledging his time to help raise funds for its work in the third world.
With his film career now restricted to cameos such as a voice over in Val Kilmer`s 90s update of The Saint and the Spice Girls` manager in their merchandising movie, Moore picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award at the second annual Palm International Film Festival`s Grand Gala in early 1997
On the subject of whether he will follow his predecessor`s example of returning to the Secret Service, Moore continually replies with the self-deprecating humour which has become his trademark, claiming that there is not even the remotest chance of him sipping Martinis again, “unless they have 007 in the geriatric division!”
There could hardly have been a more beloved actor than the delightful “Q”, Desmond Llewelyn, who was a favorite for several generations of 007 fans. An American charity is set to help remember Desmond Llewelyn`s legacy.
Mr. Llewelyn was a “rare breed” of gentleman whose personal and family life matched his sweet and cheerful on-camera persona. The world of James Bond has lost a giant and precious ambassador, who was never too busy to meet with a fan for a personal visit, sign an autograph or promote in any way the legacy of the James Bond films.
007Forever, in conjunction with an American charity, is working to help remember the legacy of Desmond Llewelyn. Mrs. Llewelyn is an Alzheimer`s sufferer, and gifts are being given in Mr. Llewelyn`s memory and collected for the Alzheimer`s Association. Courtesy copies of fans` cards, remembrances or wishes accompanying gifts, will be delivered to the Llewelyn family as well.
A spokesperson for the Alzheimer`s Association said, “I personally am a huge fan and have enjoyed the James Bond films for many years, reading all the Ian Fleming novels as well. No matter who played Bond himself onscreen, Mr. Llewelyn was the perennial favorite in the James Bond movies, as everyone knows, and the volunteers of the Alzheimer`s Association appreciate Bond`s fans everywhere remembering Mr. Llewelyn and his family in this precious way.”
The Alzheimer`s Association mission is to “provide leadership to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, while enhancing care and support services for individuals and their families.”
Please send your cards, letters, and remembrances, along with gift payments, made payable only to “Alzheimer`s Association” to:
ATTN. “Q BRANCH” GIFTS OF REMEMBRANCE
1831 NW 13 ST STE 4
GAINESVILLE FL 32609
We will update you at 007Forever with news on this special tribute to a dear friend of every Bond fan. On behalf of the many volunteers of the Alzheimer’s Association, thank you in advance for your generous gifts.
Please send any inquiries regarding this special tribute to Desmond Llewelyn to: “Q Branch” gifts.
Pierce Brosnan was born May 16, 1953 in Navan, County Meath, Ireland. He moved to London as a boy; in a cosmic coincidence, he has said it was on August 12, 1964-the day Ian Fleming died. The first film he saw in a London cinema was “Goldfinger”, and it obviously left a lasting impression.
Like one of his predecessors as 007, Roger Moore, he studied art and worked as a commercial artist before acting, and worked for a time on the British stage. One of his early roles was in Tennessee Williams` play “The Red Devil Battery Sign”, for which Williams himself selected Brosnan. It was during his early days as an actor that he met actress Cassandra Harris, whom he would marry in 1977. He moved into films with roles in “The Mirror Crack`d” and”The Long Good Friday” in 1980. He accompanied Cassandra to Greece as she filmed her role as Countess Lisl in “For Your Eyes Only”. According to legend, someone spotted Brosnan hanging around the set and asked Cubby Broccoli who he was. Broccoli is said to have responded, “I don`t know, but if he can act and speak with an English accent, he`s our next James Bond.”
After a featured role in the miniseries “The Manions Of America”, his first widespread popularity came with the “Remington Steele” TV series, and it was the “Steele” producers who cost him his first shot at 007 when they resurrected the cancelled show in 1986 hoping to cash in on the publicity of his being cast in “The Living Daylights”. Eon withdrew their offer to Pierce,and Timothy Dalton accepted the Walther PPK for two assignments.
Brosnan has since starred in “The Fourth Protocol”, “The Lawnmower Man”, and “Mrs.Doubtfire”, among other films, but during that time had put his acting career second for awhile, as he attended to Cassandra`s needs during her battle with ovarian cancer-a battle she tragically lost after four years on December 28, 1991. Brosnan threw himself back into his work, juggling it with the now daunting task of being a single parent to Christopher and Charlotte, Harris` children from a previous marriage, and Sean, the child they`d had together.
Along with”The Deceivers”, “Mister Johnson”, “The Lawnmower Man”, and “Mrs. Doubtfire”, he did several TV films, including a dynamite against-type role in “Don`tTalk To Strangers”, and an adaptation of “Robinson Crusoe” which, although shot before “GoldenEye”, has yet to see release (his recent success has prompted Miramax to consider releasing it to theaters instead-at this rate it may suffer the fate of Dalton`s “Brenda Starr”, which was filmed before Dalton began work on “The Living Daylights”).
In the wake of Timothy Dalton`s resignation in April 1994, Pierce Brosnan was announced to the world as James Bond No. 5 in London on June 7, 1994.
Although contracted for two more Bond films (with an option for a fourth), Brosnan has refused to rest on his “GoldenEye” laurels, diversifying into roles in Tim Burton`s “Mars Attacks”, and as the ironically named volcanologist Harry Dalton in the blockbuster “Dante`s Peak”. He has expressed a desire to direct and produce his own films in the future. Oil painting remains a major hobby, and some of his works have been sold to benefit the battle against ovarian cancer, for which he is an active spokesman and fundraiser. His links to Greenpeace have been a little more controversial, and a flap ensued when he boycotted the French premiere of “GoldenEye” in protest of that country`s nuclear testing policies.
In January 1997, Brosnan became a father yet again when his lady love, Keely Shaye-Smith, presented him with a son, Dylan Thomas. The couple are now engaged but have not set a wedding date.
Navan County, Meath Ireland
“Very sad news…it is wonderfully appropriate what the fans are doing.”
“Strangely, and I hate saying this, somehow I knew months back that if I didn’t write Desmond with a photo request, that it would be too late, the longer I waited. And what a way (near the holidays no less) for the legacy to end. Just a week before our loss, I was happy hearing that Desmond was not retiring from the Bond films. We are all bereaved.”
“It was such sad and stunning news. Such an adorable and beloved man! But all of us fans won’t ever let him be forgotten, and that’s some comfort.”
“I received Mr. Llewelyn’s autograph on a copy of his biography only a few minutes before I heard the announcement that stunned the world. It was ironic to receive the blessing of his lovely book so close to his passing. He always was willing to meet and go beyond any fan’s request for an autograph, an interview or even a pleasant lunch together at his home or in London for any fan visiting the UK. He will be sorely and always missed.”
“It is an immensely sad time for all of us, and even fans who did not know Mr. Llewelyn feel a personal loss for this dear man.”
“I just want it to be known that it was great that a lovely memorial service was done for Desmond Llewelyn. He had been acting in the James Bond movies since 1963, and continued to do so into his eighties without the slightest lack of devotion. He is one of the most enjoyable things about the Bond series and should have already gotten more achievement awards. Whenever he was interviewed, he displayed the same kind of charming personality that Q embodied.”
“I was sorry to hear of Desmond Llewellyn’s death. I was hoping he would survive to see the new millennium for James Bond. I am also sorry I never got the chance to meet him. He sounded much more sociable and appreciative of his fans than any other Bond actor. All I have to say is: Requiescat in Pace (Rest in Peace).”
Defying tradition, Maud Adams became the first actress to twice star in a James Bond movie in leading roles. Her first foray into Bondage occured with the 1974 film THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN and she later returned for the title role in OCTOPUSSY.
Adams, born Maud Wikstrom, was a little surprised to be called back for another Bond film, as it was her understanding that EON had a long term policy against rehiring prior Bond Girls that were in leading roles. In fact, she at first believed it to be an accident that she was asked until she had more indepth talks with Cubby Broccoli. During publicity for OCTOPUSSY, she once told the press: “Before I appeared in THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, I had only played in minor movies. Cubby feels that he really discovered me. He had closely followed my career and wanted to bring me back. He thought the part of Octopussy was perfect for me.”
Her association with Bond didn`t stop there. She was an uncredited extra in A VIEW TO A KILL, where if you look very closely as Bond steps off the San Francisco trolly, you just might be able to spot her. Off the record, she was Roger Moore`s favorite actress to work with, though officially he “loved them all”.
She has continued to work past her Bond films doing many television and film features, while still maintaining close ties to the Broccoli family and the 007 legend. She`s attended many of the premieres for the Bond films since her own and in the fall of 1999 she teamed up with several other Bond Girls such as Lois Chiles and Lana Wood, all still looking as beautiful as ever, to promote the release of the Special Edition DVD`s. On February 14th, 2000, she made a welcome guest appearance on FOX-Television`s THAT 70`S SHOW, where she worked with three other ex-Bond Girls: Tanya Roberts, Barbara Carrera and Kristina Wayborn.
She began her Hollywood career as a model, eventually gracing the covers of such magazines as Elle (1973) or Living Fit (1995), before working her way into film. She squared off against Robert Redford twice, in The Way We Were (1973) and The Great Gatsby (1974). In 1978 she resumed her career with two standout films. As as the doomed Linnet Ridgeway, a spoiled heiress in Death On The Nile, Chiles was fantastic. There she acted against such industry heavyweights as Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Mia Farrow, David Niven, Olivia Hussey and George Kennedy. She also played the doomed Nancy Greenly in Coma, opposite Michael Douglas and Geneveive Bujold.
Her hightest profile role was yet to come, in the role of Holly Goodhead in the James Bond film Moonraker. It was the right role at the right time for Chiles. She told PEOPLE Magazine in 1979: “I needed the work, I needed the money, and I needed the experience.” It was a chance meeting with director Lewis Gilbert aboard an airplane that would land Lois the highly coveted role. After talking with Gilbert on board the flight, Gilbert reported back to Cubby Broccoli that he`d spoken with Lois and together, they agreed she was perfect for the role.
She would spend much of the filming of Moonraker in France, where the production had moved to from London to avoid the steep British income tax. What should have been a memorable lark for Lois as a Bond Woman was clouded with concern for her brother, who was suffering from a potentially life threatening disease and was in need of constant blood transfusions. He died sometime after Moonraker premiered.
In deference to Lois` strong feminist feelings at the time, the role of Holly was beefed up to make her an equal partner with 007. Not only was she a brilliant astrophysicist, but now she was also a CIA operative. She helped cement the trend of strong, capable female secret agents that Barbara Bach began with Anya in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Chiles` next big feature was the television show DALLAS, where she played yet another Holly: Holly Harwood. As Holly Harwood, Chiles played an oil baroness in need of a strong hand to help run the company. She cut J.R. Ewing 25% of her action in exchange for his help as a silent partner. While scheming with J.R., she kept her eyes on Bobby Ewing, secretly wanting a relationship that was never going to be.
Lois continued to work in major features after her two year run on DALLAS. She then appeared with Alan Alda and Michael Caine in the hilarious comedy Sweet Liberty (1986), as well as working opposite Holly Hunter and William Hurt in the 1987 Oscar nominated film Broadcast News. Creepshow 2 showcased her work within a horror film. In Creepshow 2, Chiles plays an cheating wife of a rich man who has to speed home quickly before her husband realizes she`s been out. On the way, she runs over a construction worker whom she leaves for dead on the side of the road. But is he really dead?
Through the Nineties Lois has continued to work strong in an industry where parts become scarce for actresses over 40. Among her noteable works were Speed 2 as the mother of the deaf girl, an uncredited cameo in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (that can be found in special edition dvd`s), Bliss, and Curdled.
In 1999 Lois did promotional work for MGM to advertise the release of the Special Edition DVD`s as well as to coincide with the release of The World Is Not Enough. She appeared on such programs as The Today Show on NBC as well as appearing in a special photo spread for Vanity Fair.
Alice, Texas USA
Born September 9th, 1939 in Goulburn, Australia…this model turned actor will forever be a question mark in the series, a trivia answer on Jeaporady! and an enigma and controversial topic of conversation for diehard Bond fans.
To be fair to Lazenby, it wasn`t easy being the first actor to try and replace Sean Connery. Nor could it have been easy jumping into the material he was given to start off with (the love and death of Bond`s wife, Tracy). But Lazenby also made it harder on himself than was neccessary.
At the time the Bond talent hunt was under way in 1968, Lazenby was working as a male model and car salesman in London. On the advice of his agent, he made solid plans to challenge each and every eligible male actor for the role. Considering the lengths Lazenby went to to get the role, one has to wonder why he became so cavalier about returning to it. He spent his last pound on acquiring a tailor made suit from Sean Connery`s clothier, along with a very Bondish Rolex watch. A chance encounter with series producer Cubby Broccoli in a hair salon gave Lazenby his first shot at getting the role. Broccoli made a mental note to remember Lazenby as a possible candidate.
Lazenby was up against John Richardson, Anthony Rogers, Robert Campbell and Hans de Vries, but Lazenby won the role based on a screen-test fight scene.Several months went by while hundreds of other men auditioned for the role. On the strength of his interviews, fight skills, audition footage and lack of substantial competition, Lazenby got the role. From there the situation went downhill.
Lazenby`s ego went to his head. Instant success spoiled him before filming even began. He told Life magazine, which had been given exclusive access to the search for a new 007, this much about his attitude of taking on the role: “I`m looking forward to being Bond for the broads and the bread.” The situation became tense and bitter during the filming, with tabloid reports exaggerating some elements of the filming, while other rumors ran rampant that Diana Rigg disliked Lazenby so much that she ate garlic before each scene in which they kissed.
Lazenby received some bad advice that led him to believe that one outing as Bond would be enough to make him an international superstar; a man that didn`t need Bond to get acting roles. Before On Her Majesty`s Secret Service premiere, Lazenby announced to the world that this would be his first and last turn as James Bond. Broccoli cautioned Lazenby to rethink his position; that if he chose this path, Lazenby would never amount to anything of an actor and never get offers beyond “Spaghetti Westerns”. Cubby was right.
Lazenby took a year long cruise around the world after `Majesty` debuted, refreshed and ready to get back to work. The only problem was that Lazenby was a cold commodity, and the scripts were definitely not piling up on his agent`s desk.
In his post-Bond career, Lazenby acted in a few tv movies, soft core porn, and B-grade films. During the early 1970s, Lazenby worked in Hong Kong, and was going to make a film with Bruce Lee right before the actor`s death. He took several years off from show business to race cars and tend to his sick son, who died of brain cancer at 19 years of age. He often attends 007 conventions and has recently moved from Hawaii to Los Angeles to resume his acting career. His most recent notable credits have included a guest appearance on Diagnosis: Murder, and The Pretender, as Jarrod`s father.
Boothroyd was a world-renowned gun expert who wrote hundreds of articles for gun magazines, including several specifically about James Bond’s guns. He first wrote to Ian Fleming in the mid-fifties to complain about the type of
gun that Bond used. According to Boothroyd, the Beretta (used by Bond in the first five novels) was more of a ladies’ gun, and not a very nice lady at that!
At Boothroyd’s suggestion, Fleming equipped Bond with the Walther PPK which has now become virtually synonymous with Bond. Fleming subsequently named his armourer Major Boothroyd of Q section, though the films have always referred to the character simply as Q (except for “The Spy Who Loved Me”, in which Anya addresses Q as Major Boothroyd).
The actual Walther PPK which Boothroyd loaned to Fleming, along with his highly modified Smith & Wesson revolver which appears on the first edition dust jacket of From Russia, With Love, were auctioned by Christie’s in September 1998, and are now the property of Ian Fleming Foundation member Brad Frank, who had corresponded with Boothroyd several times since the sale.
Boothroyd’s daughter Susan, who worked with her father over the last ten years, will be launching a new firearms research web page on March 25. The address is: www.firearmsresearch.co.uk.
Llewelyn, 85, was driving home from a booksigning to promote his autobiography in East Sussex, south of London, when his car collided head-on with another, police said.
“Mr. Llewelyn suffered massive multiple injuries. He was airlifted from the scene and, along with two others, was taken to hospital, where he died,“ a Sussex police spokeswoman told Reuters.
Llewelyn co-starred with all of the five Bonds in 17 of the 19 Bond films, including the latest, “The World is Not Enough.“ He made the part his own, becoming an institution almost better loved than Bond himself.
He first appeared in the 1963 film “From Russia With Love,“ with the first of his gadgets, a booby-trapped suitcase.
But Llewelyn himself hated contraptions.
“I loathe gadgets,“ he admitted at a promotion for the latest Bond movie. “They always go wrong. I`m just hopeless with gadgets.“
Of the five actors to play Bond, Llewelyn picked Sean Connery as perfect in the part.
“George Lazenby played it straight and well. Roger Moore was much lighter and more jokey. It was a rather camp portrayal, with a lot more emphasis on humor, but it worked,“ he said.
“Timothy Dalton was Ian Fleming`s Bond — a real character. His confidence and surliness were straight from the books. It was brave but people didn`t like it.“
And of current 007, Pierce Brosnan, he said: “He is extremely good. He has the right look and manner.“
Llewelyn`s character was due to be retired from Her Majesty`s Secret Service and written out of the Bond films.
Signing off in “The World is Not Enough,“ he will be replaced by sidekick R, played by John Cleese.
Q was never a character in the Fleming novels — though in the first Bond book, “Casino Royale,“ it is `Q Branch` that supplies 007`s gadgets.
When work started on the film version of “From Russia with Love,“ Llewelyn was offered the role of the equipment expert, and audiences clamored for more.
Q`s character solidified into one of rattled impatience and quiet desperation and the scripts were generous with witty one-liners.
But the role remained little more than a bit part, though with the gadets becoming even more important accessories than the Bond women, Q became the best-loved role.
“What you saw in the films is what he was. He was a kind, very lovable man, and as a father he was great,“ Llewelyn`s son Ivor told Sky Television on Sunday.
“He always wanted to be an actor, from about age 16. He had some opposition from his parents so he tried being an accountant but wasn`t cut out for it — so he went to RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) when he was 20.
Llewelyn, the son of a Welsh coalminer, was alone in the blue Renault Megane when it crashed.
The two others hurt in the accident, a 35-year-old man and his female companion, were still in hospital with minor injuries.
“Weather wasn`t a factor in the accident,“ the police spokeswoman said, declining to comment on a possible cause of the crash.
Llewelyn endured five years as a prisoner of war in Germany during World war Two.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Pamela, mother to his two sons. She has Alzheimer`s disease and lives in a nursing home.
Born in South Wales, UK in 1914, Desmond Llewelyn had a career in the Arts that spanned nearly 60 years, yet was best known for his role as “Q” the gadget man in 17 of 19 Bond films. But if it weren`t for a bit of luck along the way, Desmond may never have been as famous as he is today.
His family was opposed to his interest in theater and tried to prevent him from pursuing that course. An uncle who was a high ranking police officer arranged for Desmond to take the department`s physical exam. He flunked the eye test, he felt because the inspector was drunk with a hangover. He didn`t get the job. He was accepted to RADA (Royal Academy for the Dramatic Arts) in the mid 1930s. The outbreak of World War II stopped his acting career temporarily, and Llewelyn went to fight, eventually becoming a prisioner of war by the Germans.
After the war, Llewelyn was intent on reviving his career. He had a small part in Cleopatra which filmed in Rome. There, he became part of a repatory theater group who were on “call”. If producers had an urgent need to fill a role, Desmond could be counted on. All totaled, Desmond figured he did nearly 50 plays a year back in his theater days.
Luck again played a part in the progression of his career when the original “Q”, Peter Burton, was unavailable to reprise his role in From Russia With Love. Llewelyn, who knew the director, Terence Young, from a film they had worked on together called “They Were Not Divided”, got the call to play “Q”, a role he`s had ever since. The only time he didn`t play Q was in “Live and Let Die”. There are conflicting stories about why, but the most prevalent one is that the producers wanted to tone down the emphasis on gadgets. Fans howled for his return.
Most people would think that with all of Desmond`s accumulated knowledge of gadgets that he`d be good with the real thing. But he`s not. “I`m not very good with gadgets. I really am not” said Llewelyn. “In the undergrounds [subways] in England, you have this ticket that you push into a machine, it comes out and the barrier opens. Well, 10 to 1, mine always sticks! I don`t know why. I watch and everybody goes through and I don`t and then people say, `Well, I thought you would be able to make it work` .
With the enormous success of the Bond series, Desmond`s biggest fear came true: typecasting. “It`s not just the general public, but it`s the directors, casting directors, and everybody else. I`m absolutely stuck as Q and nobody thinks I can do anything else. After all, I am an actor…but I can`t get anybody to realize that.”
Desmond counted among his favorite Bond films License To Kill (because he had his largest role ever) and Tomorrow Never Dies (he made the most money he`s ever made on a Bond film). Desmond counted among his best fans the Germans; “The Germans are absolutely terrific. They sold a million copies of GoldenEye on video there, and eventually they gave me a video Oscar, what for , I don`t know. The Germans are mad about Bond. They really are.”
Desmond was notorious among the Bond family for being the worst at remembering his lines. He once told The Incredible World of 007 “On For Your Eyes Only, I was having difficulty with my script-as usual! John Glen came up and said : “We have a good idea. We`re going to put in a new bit-can you learn this quickly?” I looked at it and said “For God`s sake, this is complicated gibberish! I couldn`t possibly learn all this in time” He said, “Of course you can” I spent the whole of lunch trying to study this bloody stuff and when I finally said I thought I knew it, John and Roger burst into laughter. Roger always took full advantage of my difficulty in learning lines.”
Desmond had spent the past few years basking in the rejuvenation of the Bond series. He filmed a commercial for Playstation`s video game version of Tomorrow Never Dies. He flew to California to promote License To Thrill, the new 007 theme park ride at Paramount. He joined Pierce Brosnan and Jay Leno on The Tonight Show to promote Tomorrow Never Dies, and came back out to California to attend the premeire of The World Is Not Enough. He attended various Bond conventions around Europe and America, as well as book signings of his autobiography. Mr. Llewelyn will be missed not only by family, but millions and millions of fans and well wishers worldwide.
David Arnold rose to worldwide recognition thanks to his rousing score for the box office smash hit “Independence Day”, though he was hardly an overnight success. His first work of note was for the 1993 film “The Young Americans”, which spawned the hit “Play Dead”. His next big break came from the release of “Stargate”, a 1994 box office hit. His collaboration with Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich on their film “Stargate” led to his job scoring their next film “Independence Day”. That film would earn him a 1997 Grammy for “Best Instrumental Composition Written For A Motion Picture Or Television”.
In 1998 EastWest Records released “Shaken, Not Stirred: The David Arnold Collection”, a compilation album that featured remakes of some of the most beloved standards in the Bond musical legacy. He also scored the next Devlin/Emmerich production “Godzilla”, as well as the Freddie Prinze flick “Wing Commander”. In 1999 Arnold returned to Bond to score “The World Is Not Enough”. He is expected back for the next James Bond film.
Born: Luton, England
LONDON (Reuters) – Charles Gray, the British actor best known for his portrayal of the cat-loving but otherwise villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the James Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever,“ died on Tuesday, his agent said on Wednesday.
Gray, who was 71, specialized in smooth, unsympathetic roles and played Blofeld to perfection. Of the four actors who have played Blofeld, which include Max Von Sydow, Donald Pleasance, Charles Gray and Telly Savalas, only Von Sydow remains alive today.
Blofeld was the head of SPECTRE, the Special Executive for Counter Espionage, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, a shadowy private organization which specialized in holding the world to ransom and devising increasingly more intricate ways of trying to kill Bond. Gray also played Dikko Hendeson in the 1967 Bond film “You Only Live Twice”.
Gray, who died in hospital, also starred in “The Mirror Crack`d“ an Agatha Christie adaptation, and the wartime drama “Night of the Generals.“
He also gained a curious type of fame when he provided a voice for actor Jack Hawkins, who had his larynx removed in an operation for throat cancer.
His death follows that of veteran actor Desmond Llewelyn, who played the gadgetry expert known as Q in a series of Bond films. Llewelyn, 85, died shortly after appearing in his last Bond film — “The World is Not Enough.“
In a fitful box office weekend with “Sleepy Hollow” nailing $30.5 million, (the first time two films have ever grabbed more than $30 million each in their openers)
Mr. Bond is not “in the shadows but on top.” Even better for MGM`s new owners, TWINE has been the best opening weekend for any film in their 75-year history. That is great news for MI-6 as 007 prepares for battle against his new archrival this month, Toy Story 2.
The Bonds always do well with Canadian fans, and the Montreal Paramount scored an estimated take of $100,000 for Bond XIX.
It seems as though TWINE will not only recap MGM`s estimated $100-$130 million dollar investment for Brosnan: Part III, but will be a “Moneyraker” joining the top twenty box office films in the US, ever!
The World Is Not Enough also grabbed $12 Million in its opening night, demolishing “Pokemon” with five times its take. Sleepy Hollow ran second to Bond with a little over $10 Million. Box Office Mojo estimates Bond peaked at $12,130,000 for a rousing start. For a comparison, Dr. No, which opened in the US in May of 1963, grabbed $16,000,000 for its entire run in the States. “You’ve come a long way, Mr. Bond.”
Bond worldwide has taken over two billion dollars at the box office since its humble beginnings.
Today, the US. Tomorrow, “worldwide domination” as Elliot Carver might say. Cheers, EON!
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Box Office Mojo
Sleepy Hollow ran second to Bond with a little over $10 Million in theatres.
Box Office Mojo estimates Bond peaked at $12,130,000 for a major start to am estimated $30,000,000 opening weekend. For a comparison, Dr. No, which opened in the US in May of 1963, grabbed $16,000,000 for its entire run in the States. “You’ve come a long way, Mr. Bond.”
James Bond worldwide has taken over two billion dollars at the box office since its humble beginnings.
Forever will continue to keep you apprised of Bond box office developments worldwide.
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Box Office Mojo
In a not too terribly suprising box office set of events, Toy Story 2 shot straight to #1 with an estimated $80.8 million dollars in North American markets since it`s roll out Wednesday. Over the 5 day holiday period, Bond held steady at $35 million dollars for the #2 slot. Newcomer “End of Days” failed to overtake 007, but still would up with an impressive $31 million dollar, 5 day haul and the #3 position.
Nothing lasts forever, especially the top spot at the box office. But Bond`s bounty looks to be plentiful this holiday season, with `World` tracking to an all time box office high in the United States, somewhere between $140-160 million dollars.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Box Office Mojo
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “Toy Story 2“ remained on top of the North A merican box office in its second weekend of release as overall ticket sales slid in the traditional post-Thanksgiving slump, according to studio estimates issued on Sunday.
The comedy starring animated dolls, which Walt Disney Pictures produced with Pixar Animation Studios Inc., earned about $28.3 million for the Friday-to-Sunday period, a 50 percent decline from its three-day haul one weekend earlier.
The rankings of the top four films were unchanged from last weekend, and there were no new entries in the top 10. The 1999 box office champ, “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace“ reentered theaters on a limited basis in a one-week charity run. It grossed an estimated $1.2 million from 832 prints, said Twentieth Century Fox. The film`s total now stands at $430 million. The latest James Bond movie, “The World Is Not Enough“ (MGM) held the No. 2 spot with $10.6 million, followed by Arnold Schwarzenegger`s “End of Days“ (Universal) with $9.7 million and “Sleepy Hollow“ (Paramount) with $9.0 million. “The Bone Collector“ (Universal) moved up one place to No. 5 with $3.1 million.
“Toy Story 2“ has earned $117.3 million after two weekends in wide release. It passed the $100 million mark on Saturday, its 11th day of release, matching the pace set by Disney`s 1994 “The Lion King.“ Disney said its current weekend haul was the fourth highest for any weekend in December, after “Scream 2“ and two rounds of “Titanic.“
It also beat the original 1995 “Toy Story“ to claim the title for the first weekend in December.
While a 50-percent slide in ticket sales sounds precipitous, it is normal for the weekend following a huge holiday period. Ticket sales for the studio`s 1998 Thanksgiving champ, “A Bug`s Life,“ fell 48 percent the next weekend.
“The World Is Not Enough,“ which fell 54 percent from last weekend, has grossed $90.4 million after 17 days in release. “End of Days,“ off 53 percent, has picked up $45.9 million after 10 days; “Sleepy Hollow,“ down 51 percent, has reached a 17-day tally of $45.9 million; and “The Bone Collector,“ off 43 percent, has corralled $58.1 million after one month.
Walt Disney Pictures is a unit of Walt Disney Co. Universal Pictures is a unit of Seagram Co. Ltd. Paramount Pictures is a unit of Viacom Inc. Twentieth Century Fox is a unit of Fox Entertainment Group Inc.
Copyright © 1996-1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (Reuters) – James Bond had the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lion roaring again Tuesday as the movie studio`s fourth-quarter earnings beat Wall Street estimates, proving Agent 007 still has a license to kill at both the box office and in the video store.
MGM reported net income of $15.2 million, or 8 cents per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a net loss of $43.7 million, or 41 cents per share (based on fewer average shares outstanding), in the prior year`s fourth quarter. Wall Street analysts polled by First Call/Thomson Financial had expected earnings of 7 cents per share. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $47.7 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $15.6 million for the same period last year, it said.
MGM`s stock fell 1/16 to 23-1/8 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company, known for its familiar roaring lion at the start of feature films, said it was the second consecutive profitable quarter under new management and its strongest quarterly operating results in 12 years. It attributed the results primarily to a series of successful films in theatrical release, including the latest Bond blockbuster, “The World is Not Enough,” which has so far taken in over $320 million at the box office. In addition, a special boxed set of seven James Bond films on video and DVD exceeded 3.1 million units worldwide, helping DVD sales to more than triple in the fourth quarter.
Also contributing to the reverse from loss into profit was “the favorable impact of a corporate restructuring implemented by the new management team,” MGM said.
“Our continued profitability should reinforce to everyone that the `new MGM` is not only back in business, but is fully committed to bottom-line performance,” Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Yemenidjian said. “Beyond the company`s substantial accomplishments over the past few months, we believe that the initiatives we have in place in all areas of the company will sustain this improvement as we look ahead.” He noted MGM`s recent new movie channel in Israel, an agreement with Blockbuster video rental chain to develop digital streaming and downloading for selected MGM titles, and successfully reclaiming rights to 426 classic MGM films in Germany.
Sharon Williams, an entertainment analyst for CIBC World Markets, said she believed the launch of MGM-branded cable networks remained highly likely and will create significant long-term value.
“Management suggested two additional parties have joined in cable network discussions in recent months,” she said in a report. Additionally, she said, she expects MGM to comfortably reach her $75 million EBITDA estimate for 2000. “Upside to our $75 million estimate could come if a modest hit emerges,” she said.
MGM has a library of more than 4,100 movies such as “Gone With the Wind” and “West Side Story” and the “Bond,” “Rocky” and “Pink Panther” series, representing the world`s largest modern film library. Its operating units include MGM Pictures, United Artists Films, Orion Pictures, United Artists Ltd., MGM Television Entertainment, MGM Distribution Co., and MGM Home Entertainment, among others.
1965 Thunderball- Winner of Best Visual Effects (John Stear)
1971 Diamonds Are Forever – Nominated for Best Sound
1973 Live And Let Die – Nominated for Best Song (Lyrics by Linda and Paul McCartney; Sung by Paul McCartney and Wings)
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me – Nominated for Best Song (Music by M. Hamlisch; Lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager; Sung by Carly Simon)
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me- Nominated for Best Score (Music by Marvin Hamlisch)
1977 The Spy Who Loved Me -Nominated for Best Art Direction/ Set Decoration (Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, Hugh Scaife)
1979 Moonraker – Nominated for Best Visual Effects (Derek Meddings; P Wilson; J. Evans)
1981 – For Your Eyes Only Nominated for Best Song (Lyrics by Mick Leeson; Music by Bill Conti; Sung by Sheena Easton)
1982 Irving G. Thalberg Lifetime Achievement Award- Albert R. Broccoli
1978 The Spy Who Loved Me nominated for Best Original Score
Marvin Hamlisch Nominated for Best Original Song “Nobody Does It Better”.
1985/86 Duran Duran and John Barry nominated for Best Original Song: “A View To A Kill”
1998 Sheryl Crow nominated for Best Song in “Tomorrow Never Dies”
MTV Movie Awards 1995/96 Goldeneye nominated for Best Fight Sequence (Steam Room Scene) Nominated for BEST ACTION SEQUENCE : Motorcycle/helicopter chase, “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1998) Nominated for BEST FIGHT : Michelle Yeoh/bad guys, “Tomorrow Never Dies”(1998)
Entertainment Weekly Named Goldeneye as the Best Marketed film of 1995, saying the marketing dept. “made Bond seem like new”. Named Tomorrow Never Dies as one of the 5 Best Marketed Films of 1997.
The Razzies 1985/86 Tanya Roberts Nominated Worst Actress for her role as Stacy Sutton in “A View To A Kill” (she may have picked up a Golden Turkey award for the role as well)
Saturn Awards 1997/98 Pierce Brosnan wins Best Actor Award for James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association (LIMA) 1996 Winner for Goldeneye 1998 Winner for Tomorrow Never Dies
BAFTA In 1989 The British Academy of Film and Theater Arts awarded Cubby Broccoli the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the Bond series. The award was presented to Cubby by Timothy Dalton.
The World Is Not Enough is one of the seven Oscar nominee finalists for Best Special Effects. The other contenders are Stuart Little, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Wild Wild West, The Mummy, The Matrix, and Sleepy Hollow.
About 200 board members of the Academy will be viewing 15-minute reels of hand picked scenes from each F/X house responsible for the movie`s effect. The list of seven nominees will be trimmed down to a list of the three final nominations. Criteria includes technique, execution, creative use of existing technology, how pioneering the work was and whether it pushed the boundaries of visual f/x. The special effects team from Cinesite is represented by Chris Corbould, Alex Bicknell and Mara Bryan.
So what scenes will the Academy be viewing from The World Is Not Enough? The `fireball sequence`, the pipeline sequence where Bond and Christmas defuse a bomb on a rig moving 70 mph, the implosion of Renard`s submarine and the destruction of Zukovsky`s caviar factory. The caviar factory used a combination of miniatures and computer work to give the illusion that Bond, Christmas, and Zukovsky were under attack. Much like the `helicopter blades sequence` in Tomorrow Never Dies, the chainsaw blades sweeping out from underneath the helicopters in `World` were digitally inserted into the scene.
The World Is Not Enough is somewhat of a surprise among the nominees, since it is not special effects heavy in the obvious sense that `Phantom Menace` or `Matrix` are, and thus is considered a longshot for a nomination, much less a win.
What MGM should really be pushing for are Best Supporting Actor/Actress nominations for Sophie Marceau and Robert Carlyle. Both performances were exceptional, particularly Marceau`s. And Garbage`s title song is worth a nomination to. But without any momentum from the Golden Globes to speak of (the movie was locked out of every category), it looks like the cast and crew of The World Is Not Enough will just have to be happy with box office records, instead of little gold statues.
The Z8, a high performance two-seater with a six-speed transmission and a 400 horsepower V-8 engine, gets Bond more than just around. It saves his life quite a number of times. For `World`, Bond uses his trusty BMW to evade seventeen foot circular saw blades suspended from helicopters and eventually downs one with a surface to air missle.
This isn`t the first time 007 has Bonded with BMW. The first BMW product placement was the Z3 for “Goldeneye”, which was roundly criticized for blatant commercialism without adding anything to the story (Bond did nothing with the car but just drive it) “Tomorrow Never Dies” feated the 750iL and R1200c motorcycle, this time making them more intregal to the plot.
The two new advertising campaigns will debut on FOX`s Ally McBeal (9pm EST), with print ads in Forbes, Fortune and USA Today. On the Web, Duffy Design and Interactive unit has created a BMW Z8/Bond section on the BMW site (http://www.bmwusa.com). Visitors can crack a secret code and virtually test drive the car against most obstacles Bond would face himself.
The first thing any good secret agent wants to know when setting out on his assignment is: “Who is my target?” This weekend has clarified who Bond must target and knock off in the United States next weekend, when The World Is Not Enough is set to debut Friday, November 19th. Based on preliminary data from Exhibitor Relations and Friday`s box office performance of the top ten grossing films, it`s clear Bond`s next big challenge is Pokemon!
Friday`s Top Ten Box Office Performers (USA)
(average indicates per-theatre average)
1. Pokeman: The First Movie – $9 million, 2,901 screens, $3,127 average
2. The Bone Collector – $3.8 million, 2,587 screens, $1,477 average
3. Dogma – $3 million, 1,260 screens, $2,409 average
4. The Messenger -$2.9 million, 2,147 screens, $1,393 average
5. Anywhere But Here — $1.9 million, 1,673 screens, $1,136 average
6. The Bachelor – $1.7 million, 2,524 screens, $677 average
7. The Insider – $1.5 million, 1,833 screens, $837 average
8. House on Haunted Hill – $1.4 million, 2,350 screens, $555 average
9. Double Jeopardy – $980,000, 2,110 screens, $464 average
10. The Sixth Sense – $810,000, 1,418 screens, $571 average
(info provided by exhibitor relations)
Based on this information, we predict Pokemon to come out of the three day weekend with a cumulative box office take of $27 to $30 million dollars. Can Bond overtake the Pokemon juggernaut before doing battle with “Toy Story 2” and Arnold Shwarzeneggar`s “End of Days”? Absolutely.
In context, Goldeneye opened up it`s initial USA 3 day weekend run back in 1995 with $26.2 million dollars and went on to gross an estimated $105 million dollars. In 1997 Tomorrow Never Dies opened up against Titanic with slightly more than $25 million dollars but stayed strong and went on to gross an estimated $135 million dollars in the United States. With better reviews and a better, more high profile cast, The World Is Not Enough should have no problem beating both records held by Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies to become the box office champ in North America, if only for a week.
007Forever is forecasting a total box office take for The World Is Not Enough somewhere between $140 and $160 million dollars. Be certain to check this site out Saturday evening, November 20th, for news updates on The World Is Not Enough`s box office take and performance across the country.