Everyone knows his name. James Bond. The James Bond films became a talking point recently. The reason being the decision to make British actress Lashana Lynch the new 007, which will make her the first woman to play the role. Lashana Lynch will play Nomi in the 2020 Bond film, “No Time to Die.” She will also play 007 in upcoming installments of the Bond franchise. I think, for the Bond Franchise, this is not the right decision because male-led spy films do better than female-led, and they have already built up a reputation with James Bond.
Every time when a James Bond movie came on when I was younger, I would immediately turn it on. The action, suspense, and thrill always kept me coming back. Anytime I got the chance to say the famous line, “The name is Bond, James Bond”, I would say it even if it didn’t make sense in context. I was so captivated by this character that I even got the 007 Legends game on my Xbox 360. There is something so special about this character that keeps the world coming back again and again for the next movie. Changing that now will change the direction of this franchise, but not for the good.
The Bond films have been a staple of cinema ever since the first film came out in 1962. They have set an example for other spy movies to follow. The Bond films have been overall highly rating as they average a 69% on Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’. The recent films with Daniel Craig even scored higher on the Tomatometer at 78.75%. The old saying “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” applies very well here.
The movies are doing well with James Bond as the lead, and he has become a household name in all of cinema. To change that now is just puzzling. If there was a woman to take over the role, they would have to start from scratch. Everyone knows James Bond, but most people don’t know Jamie Bond.
Some female-led spy movies have done well, but most have not done well compared to male-led films. Some recent spy movies with female leads include “Atomic Blonde” and “Red Sparrow”. These movies did decent in the box office and with critics. “Atomic Blonde” is certified fresh with a 78% on the tomato meter and received around $100 million in the box office. “Red Sparrow” did worse, as it received a 45% on the Tomatometer, but did better in the box office with $151.6 million.
Looking at the Tomatometer, it looks like “Atomic Blonde” competes with most of the Bond films as it has scored higher on the Tomatometer than the average for Bond films. But the box office is another story. “Atomic Blonde” and “Red Sparrow” combined generated $251.6 million at the box offices. The average Bond film generates around $283 million at the box office with the latest release, “Spectre,” generating around $880 million.
Comparing a Bond film to these other films is unfair, so let’s compare the numbers of the two female lead movies to the 2012 film “Argo.” This movie starred Ben Affleck and received a 96% on rotten tomatoes and is certified fresh. The movie also generated $232.2 million at the box office, which is still larger than the two female lead films combined. There IMBd ratings also differ but say the same. The two spy movies with female leads received a 6.6 and 6.7 out of 10. “Argo” received a 7.7/10 and the past four Bond films averaged about 7.3/10 Spy movies with male leads have also in general gotten more attention like the “Bourne” franchise, the “Mission Impossible” franchise, and “The Equalizer” movies.
Making a separate franchise for a female lead is probably the right way to go because you can still have a strong female lead and have James Bond. A Female-led spy franchise that has done well is “Charlie’s Angels,” so something like that would be a good move for the franchise, but it is a big step from James Bond. One thing is for sure though, after “No Time to Die,” we will probably not hear the famous line “The name is Bond, James Bond” for awhile.