Today’s news that Pierce Brosnan is stepping down as James Bond isn’t entirely surprising given the huge success of THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (which topped DIE ANOTHER DAY’s opening weekend by more than $6 million with a $54 million opening). Even Variety was musing that Bond’s days were over…
Could “Bourne” be the new Bond?
Universal’s “The Bourne Supremacy” bowed to a boffo $53.5 this weekend, unspooling at 3,165 locations.
The spy thriller opened bigger than any pic in the James Bond series, topping 2002’s “Die Another Day’s” $47 million debut, and beat the bow of the biggest-opening Tom Clancy film, “The Sum of All Fears,” which grossed $31 million on its first weekend in 2002.
Studio was optimistic going into the weekend, but U didn’t expect to nearly double original “Bourne Identity’s” $27.1 million opening and set its best opening of the year, topping the $51 million drawn by “Van Helsing.”
The two Bourne movies, and Matt Damon’s performance, prove that it *is* possible to do a successful espionage movie that will appeal to a wide audience without resorting to your hero surfing a tidal wave (which Bond did, ridiculously, in DIE ANOTHER DAY).
In many ways, the two Bourne movies are throwbacks to the Bond of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and even GOLDFINGER, two of the best 007 films. Bourne is surprisingly human and relatable…and yet still able to accomplish almost superhuman feats.
So who will be the next Bond? According to Entertainment Weekly…
Unless Brosnan’s statement is a negotiating ploy — Sean Connery, for example, quit for a whole movie before being lured back for bigger bucks — England-based Eon productions, which produces the Bond flicks, must find another star to carry 007’s Walther PPK in the as-yet-untitled 21st Bond movie, which is already scheduled to be released on Nov. 18, 2005. Speculation surrounds Brits Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Gerard Butler, Jude Law, and Ewan McGregor, as well as Aussies Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger, and Eric Bana.
My hope is that the Bond producers will cast Clive Owen (who had a small part in BOURNE IDENTITY) as 007 and return to something closer to BOURNE than MOONRAKER.