25 years ago when the US box-office take was disappointing, United Artists were quick to throw Timothy Dalton under the bus
"Broken Bond" - August 13th 1989 (Los Angeles
Is America's infatuation with James Bond coming to an end? MGM/UA's latest Bond entry, 'Licence To Kill,' has sold just $28 million in tickets in four weeks in North America - well below expectations for the perennially popular 007.
True, 'Licence' has faced formidable summer competition. But a Bond picture can traditionally be counted on to gross $50-$70 million domestically. 'Licence' isn't building that kind of momentum.
Meanwhile, it's doing unusually big business in foreign markets, where the series always performs well. What gives? "There are no easy answers," said Saul Cooper, director of publicity for producer Cubby Broccoli. "We're being sent a mixed signal by moviegoers."
Some possibilities: American audiences aren't responding to the new James Bond, actor Timothy Dalton. Perhaps they miss the self-effacing sense of humor Sean Connery and Roger Moore brought to the role. Bond's trademark outrageous stunts and action are not the norm in a plethora of other action pictures. Could 007 have become ho-hum to a new generation of action fans?
"All the obvious questions have been asked," Cooper acknowledged. A UA exec, asking for anonymity, was more direct: "The American public loves the movies - but they don't love Dalton. He just isn't clicking..."