View our top secret James Bond Dashboard What’s the one thing besides James Bond himself that the franchise has in common in each of the so far 23 movies? People get killed - lots and lots of them.
Since 1962, when Dr. No premiered, a total of 1,299 people have been killed. And plenty more are surely going to perish in the 23rd movie in the series entitled “Skyfall.”
Is there a relationship between the number of people killed in each movie by Agent 007 vs. by other characters, and how much each movie cost and brought in at the box office?
The modern Bond does less dirty work in terms of pure body count but overall deaths are also falling. The “Attitude Change” and “Ruthlessness Index” show that trend. In "Dr. No" 12 people are killed in total and 33.33% of them by James Bond (Sean Connery). In "You Only Live Twice" 196 people are killed in total and 10.71% by James Bond (Sean Connery). Then in "Golden Eye" 72 people are killed and 65.28% by James Bond (Pierce Brosnan). In the last Bond movie released to date, "Quantum of Solace," a modest 31 people are killed, but 51.61% die at the hands of 007 (Daniel Craig).
[caption id="attachment_15750" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Bond villain Oddjob in Goldfinger (1964)[/caption]
While there has been a drop-off in overall fatalities (fewer mass killings by Goldfinger, Oddjob, Jaws and the rest of the bad guys) the focus has shifted to Bond, whose victims (who are the bad guys) are increasing in proportion terms. This "Attitude Change" perhaps suggests that the cinema audience is more accepting of a body-count caused by the righteous hero, than the killing of large numbers of innocent bystanders.
Looking at the budget of each movie from the start, 50 years ago, we can see that the ROI has gone down precipitously, from almost 60x to a meager 2.6x. It may not be as good a business to be bloody as it was in the 1950s and 1960s, but the sharp increase in budget (particularly in the most recent film “Quantam of Solace”) partly explains the diminishing ROI.
The more ruthless modern Bond still draws hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. We'll be first in line to see if Daniel Craig continues his ruthless streak in the latest Bond movie when it is released later this week.