With the recent release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, the popular Science Fiction franchise has financially overtaken agent 007 in box office gross. But is it as durable?
Looking at the figures compiled by Box Office Mojo, the Star Wars franchise has brought in $ 7.34 billion worldwide since the release of the first film in 1977. With a total gross of $ 7.04 billion since 1962, the James Bond franchise does fall behind despite having produced 24 films in relation to 8 of Star Wars plus the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”.
At the time the first Star Wars film hit cinemas in May 1977, the Bond franchise already had a 15 year head start and its tenth film, “The Spy who loved me”, premiered only two months later. Like Bond in the 1960s, Star Wars became an instant pop culture phenomenon.
Since the numbers present a straight-forward fact and make Star Wars the financially triumphant franchise, there is the question of durability. With its 24 films and a 54 year cinematic history, the James Bond franchise has undoubtedly created a unique universe of stories and characters and spawned one of the largest fan communities. The commercial success outside of box office numbers must also be taken into account. This includes merchandise and even location tourism which has put some extraordinary places on the map that now generate business from the legendary spy film franchise. Bond is a consistent mass phenomenon rather than mass hysteria.
Over the course of 54 years, the Bond franchise has had its fair share of trouble and yet always managed to stay on top. It’s durability is unique in the world of cinema and there is potential for more, even in uncertain times such as these. The year 2016 can be regarded as a “lost year” for 007 as no developments about the next film had come to light. With “Star Wars: Episode VIII” set for release in 2017, Bond limps behind and the box office gap will be even greater.
For the international community of dedicated Bond fans, the box office comparison should be of little significance. With a never-ending stream of events, celebrations and gatherings our cinematic hero has surpassed Star Wars in style and longevity.