The fact that James Bond is one of the most adored cult-figures shouldn’t be surprising. His creator, Ian Fleming has carefully packed all his creations with some of the most vital ingredients to propel him to that throne, right from day one: guns, gadgets, intelligence, action, patriotism, drama, theme music, Bond girls, sex and comedy...there are few novels and movies, which can claim to have all these, blended in perfect proportions. Sociologically speaking, it would in fact be shocking if a wonderful combination of all these, as in Bond movies hadn’t paved the way for a cult-following.
Bond books enjoy the distinction of being the highest selling novel series, with over 100 million copies sold worldwide. These books had set the tone for the phenomenal cult-following that Bond would eventually enjoy. 22 official Bond movies since 1962, produced by Eon Productions with a budget of $1.04 billion, having grossed over $5.02 billion in the box office is proof enough to demonstrate the stupendous cult-following 007 enjoys! Bond series is second only to Harry Potter series in terms of collections in the illustrious history of English movies. And, it also happens to be the longest running series of movies ever made. According to rough estimates, over half the world population has seen a Bond movie! A character, being able to maintain its charm and appeal for over half a century is something that can only be explained, taking the cult-factor into account. James
Bond continues to rock, even after the character has seen six different actors portraying his role; six authors other than Ian Fleming, writing Bond novels and nearly 2-3 generations of viewers watching him in awe...ever since this British superspy hit the big screen.
The following examples make the point amply clear: The Aston Martin DB5, the car, so much associated with Bond movies of Sean Connery (the first actor to portray James Bond) era (1960’s), was bought in an auction during 2010 for a whopping $4.6 million dollars. Sophie Harley has turned into a celebrated jewellery designer by producing exquisite James Bond jewellery for her clientele. She draws from her experience as a designer for over 20 years to come up with this spectacular collection of jewellery. Once the James Bond cult grew, the superspy came out in many manifestations on radio, TV, video games and cartoon strips etc. It’s said that imitation is the best form of flattery. In 1960’s itself, a couple of television series were aired, imitating James Bond. Apart from the official James Bond movies, produced by Eon Productions, two more Bond movies (unofficial) have come out: “Casino Royale” and “Never Say Never Again”. Markets find it too hard to overcome the effects of a large scale cult-following and with James Bond, it’s been true to the core.
James Bond has come a long way from “Dr. No” to “Quantum of Solace”; from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig; and so has the cult-following. With the 23rd Bond movie, “Skyfall”, expected to arrive shortly, up-north is the only direction the cult-following is headed.
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