Octopussy vs. Never Say Never Again (1983)

1. Octopussy vs. Never Say Never Again (1983)

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Octopussy: $67 million domestic ($8.9 million opening weekend)

Never Say Never Again: $55 million domestic ($10.9 million opening weekend)

1983 saw a peculiar competition at the box office, and perhaps the starting point for researching all similarly-plotted films in a “Bond-off.”  In a nutshell, someone owned movie rights to specifically the Ian Fleming novel Thunderball and produced a remake of the 1965 film of the book’s title starring the same actor in Sean Connery as 007. Comparing and contrasting Never Say Never Again to Thunderball would confuse the point of this piece. However, MGM and the Broccoli family were set to release a 007 film of their own in Octopussy that very year.  Instead of releasing Roger Moore and hiring a new Bond to take over, the studio panicked when they couldn’t find a suitable replacement and opted to resign the aging Moore to two more Bond adventures. Neither film received adoration from critics. Both films instead proved that their leading men were too old to drink their martinis shaken, not stirred. The MGM Bond franchise, of course, continues, but that’s merely a testament to the power of an established franchise. Still, NSNA made more in its opening weekend (almost a fifth of its box office). Perhaps audiences couldn’t wait to Sean Connery again, but soon caught wind that they’d already seen it before.

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