With the real story behind Pierce Brosnan's departure
from James Bond finally out, MI6 crunches the numbers
behind the pay negotiations...
Pierce Brosnan - A High Price To Pay
15th February 2005
Following yesterday's edition of Variety
in which columnist Peter Bart claimed Pierce Brosnan had priced
himself out of the role of James Bond with demands that would
net him over $40m (USD), reports have spread fast with wildly
When rumours of Brosnan's departure first broke back in early
2004 due to him being "too
old", tabloids and Internet sites were quick to back up the
hypothesis that the four-times 007 had been "fired" (even though
he was not under contract) because he was the wrong side of 50.
Sources close to the production denied these stories, and MGM
even leaked a denial through trade paper Variety exactly one year
ago announcing Bond 21's provisional release date and that "Brosnan
was still their Bond". The real story was still bubbling behind
the scenes however, and the talk of pay disputes did not make
any headlines. One year on, and following the Variety piece, the
press are now openly reporting that Brosnan had asked for too
much money - although the numbers quoted vary in accuracy.
MI6 Forums member "Insider" - who first broke the news that Bond
21 would be based on "Casino Royale" back in June 2004 (before
any other website) - leaked details
of Brosnan's pay demands early last year.
The negotiations reportedly stalled with only a $3m difference
between the two parties.
According the figures, Brosnan allegedly
asked for $25m to extend his tenure as James Bond for
a fifth time, after
his original contract of "three films and an optional fourth"
expired with "Die Another Day". $25m may seem a lot of
money for the lead role, but Brosnan was reportedly paid
for his last Bond film in 2002 which broke Bond's 40 year
According to the source, negotiations
broke down in February as both parties could not come to
an agreement and Brosnan was not lowering his asking
A month later, and following a slew of "too old for Bond"
bad press which caused Brosnan to change publicists, he
lowered his asking price to $20m plus 10% of box-office
profits. The source's report in March said that MGM were
willing to go to $17m with the 10% deal, but the discrepancy
of $3m stalled talks. At that point, Brosnan said "the phone
calls stopped" and "paralysis" had set in with producers
went public on the issue.
Crunching The Numbers
Taking "The World Is Not Enough" (1999) as an example, the
film had a box-office gross of $352m. After deducting the
costs for distribution of the film, the earnings of the
theatre owners, the earnings of the distributors, the cost
of the film's production and marketing budget, estimates
of the film's profits total around $22m.
For a 10% of box-office
profits deal, this would net the actor an addition $2.2m
on top of the usual fee. DVD profits would also generate
further income, especially if actors unions have their
with movie studios and secure a bigger slice of DVD revenues.
Based on these figures, Variety's claim of $40m seems a
little inflated. The reality of the dispute that caused
Pierce Brosnan to step down from his famous role is more
likely to be closer to the $3m difference of opinion.
Eon Productions and MGM stated that no casting decisions
for the role of James Bond had been made in a press
release that confirmed "Casino Royale" as the title
for the 21st film earlier this month. A new actor
is expected to be signed as the sixth 007 in
picture deal. Filming
is expected to begin around December 2005 / January 2006
for release in November 2006.
Pierce Brosnan's post-Bond career so far includes "After
The Sunset" and "The Matador". His schedule
is busier than ever with three more productions planned for
the coming year.
Royale" (2006) Officially Announced
Brosnan Confirms It's Over