James Bond has come a long way since the beginning, and believe it or not, Thunderball is the top movie of the franchise when you adjust its earnings to today’s dollars. In fact Thunderball tops out at just over $1 billion dollars in today’s economy. When you think about the fact that this film was released in 1965 you can easily see how the price of a movie ticket wasn’t even half of what it is now. On average it cost just over a dollar to see a movie over forty years ago, which means that the cost of a ticket today would likely cover an entire family and still have money left over for refreshments. As it stands now though the price of a movie, popcorn, and something to drink is easily in the thirty to forty-dollar range.
The box office for Thunderball came in at $141 million dollars back in ’65, meaning that it was a highly successful picture. That kind of number in today’s cinema would mean that the movie had bombed. But looking at it from the perspective of cost, meaning how much inflation has done to affect the budget of a movie and what extra expenses have to be made to produce a movie, would explain a great deal. Plus there’s also the idea that films back then had to be shot on location or somewhere similar if they weren’t shot on a back lot with a great deal of Hollywood magic and trickery. Today green screen technology can make a film seem as though it’s being shot on location no matter where in the world it’s being made. That kind of technology however does come with a hefty cost and it does drive the price up quite a bit.
Then there’s the issue of the actors’ salaries. However much Connery made for this film is no doubt paltry in comparison to what Daniel Craig has been making for his last few appearances. It could be said over and over that actors are overpaid but the cost has only gone up throughout the years as some actors’ salaries and their special needs have eaten through the budget of many a film prompting the creators and the producers to ask for more and more. Apparently when you get to Hollywood and become a star you’re allowed to be more demanding for the same amount of work that others do for so much less. But that’s neither here nor there.
Bond has been a popular franchise for a long, long time now and doesn’t seem to be slowing down as more and more ideas keep rolling in about the male Bond retiring, someone else finally taking the reins, and new talent being considered in the writer’s booth as well as in the director’s chair. Things are being shaken up on a constant basis as the franchise continues and will no doubt experience a big change as certain actors get older and new story lines need to be developed. Until then it’s enough to know that when all is said and done and the playing field is leveled, the oldies are still the best.