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  1. The CBn Dossier, December '06

    Devin Zydel

    Welcome to the December 2006 CBn Dossier, a wrap-up of all the James Bond 007 news and rumours for the month. If you follow these reports CBn files around the end of each month, you’ll notice that we omitted last month, November, as we were currently swamped with other news to report about the release of some major film… perhaps you’ve heard of it? In any event, we’re back. In this month’s column, we’ll be covering anything and everything relating to Casino Royale (once again, there is a lot of it), Bond 22, all the latest news on Charlie Higson’s Young Bond, the ‘Ultimate Edition’ DVDs, and much more…

    This month’s CBn Dossier is delivered by Devin Zydel. Enjoy.

    A Royale Winner At The Box Office

    The month started off well for Casino Royale, as the film had just passed the $100 million mark in the US at the start of December. Since then, the film also overtook Die Another Day’s UK box office record as well as opened #1 in a variety of countries around the world.

    Early predictions that Casino Royale would become the most successful Bond film internationally were proved true in mid-December, when the film overtook Die Another Day’s record as well as broke the $400 million barrier worldwide.

    CBn also reported on the Sydney premiere of Casino Royale, which was attended by Daniel Craig, Caterina Murino, and director Martin Campbell. When asked about his new role as James Bond, Craig said: ‘We had the chance to try and rediscover him a little bit here and open him out. He’s a little more human, but that’s because he has to fall in love and we had to see other sides to him.’

    Martin Campbell summed it up perfectly in one line: ‘The best James Bond film ever is what [fans] can expect.’

    Making the smiles even bigger for those at Sony, Casino Royale‘s box office success contributed to helping the studio reach the $3 billion milestone at worldwide box office–only the fourth time in history for any studio.

    Craig, Murino, and Campbell were on hand once again in South Korea, where they attended a press conference at Shilla Hotel in Seoul to promote the film. ‘He (James Bond) falls in love, makes mistakes and gets hurt. He is a little bit more human,’ said Craig at the event when asked what made his 007 different from the others in the series.

    Remaining strong once again at the box office, Casino Royale maintained its #1 position internationally for the fourth straight weekend. It was the opening of the pesty Happy Feet in the UK however, that finally knocked Casino Royale from the top spot. The film is currently the second most successful film in the UK, behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest .

    Casino Royale also went on to open #1 in Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia with takings of $1.5 million, $314,002, and $320,589, respectively. The film also made its way into the US Top 10 at the box office–1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies being the series most recent film to feature on the list.

    Additionally, CBn reported on Casino Royale‘s opening on 29 December in Vietnam, where the film was screened at cinemas in Ho Chi Minh City.

    The Biggest Bond Of All

    On Christmas Eve, Bond fans received the news that Casino Royale had become the highest grossing James Bond film in the series. With a then-worldwide total of $448 million, Craig’s first 007 film had beaten the previous record of Die Another Day‘s $432 million.

    The film then went on to pass the $150 million barrier in the US and earn the #1 spot on ‘Film 2006 with Jonathan Ross.’

    With a current domestic total of $155 million and a an international total of $338 million, Casino Royale will become the first Bond film to break the $500 million barrier worldwide.

    Click here for CBn’s weekly updated round up of all the latest box office details for Casino Royale

    Making The ‘Top 10’ Lists…

    While Casino Royale continued on its quest for box office success, it also made its way to several Top 10 listings on entertainment websites around the world:

    On Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman put Daniel Craig’s first 007 film in the #1 spot. The beauty of Casino Royale is that it does more than just restore the lustrous excitement of the James Bond series. ‘The beauty of Casino Royale is that it does more than just restore the lustrous excitement of the James Bond series,’ he says. ‘[It] reconnected audiences to the very soul of movie escapism, reviving the primal enjoyment of what action, suspense, and romance feel like when there is something at stake.’

    On the website for The Guardian, readers can vote for the best film of 2006. Casino Royale is currently in the #1 spot with 33% of the votes.

    Empire placed Casino Royale in the #3 spot, saying: ‘Contrary to pre-release nay-sayers, Daniel Craig has done more with James Bond in one film than some previous stars have in multiple reprises. This is terrific stuff, again positioning 007 as the action franchise to beat.’

    Casino Royale came in the #1 spot on BlogCritics Magazine as well. “TV and Film Guy” said of the film: ‘They recognized the franchise needed change and they rethought it all from the ground up…’

    Daniel Craig’s first James Bond film is ranked #5 overall on Clint’s Top 10 on Moviehole. ‘If you’re ever going to try and re-invent Bond, you get the guy that did GoldenEye, Martin Campbell,’ he says. ‘Campbell knows how to breathe life into a struggling franchise, and does it again here with flying colours. He’s inserted the exhilaration back into the series.

    On the NY Daily News, Casino Royale is #7: ‘I haven’t enjoyed a James Bond movie this much since the earliest Sean Connery editions, before the franchise went all high-tech and started casting dandies like Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan … Daniel Craig is a real 007.’

    Demetrios Matheou also placed Casino Royale in his Top 10 on the Sunday Herald, saying: ‘The bone-crunchingly realistic action scenes were accompanied by a pleasing fidelity to the card games and testicle-bashing of Fleming’s novel. Casino Royale ensured that, for the first time anyone can remember, at the end of a Bond film we’re actually looking forward to the next.

    More Royale Details

    In an interview with The New York Times, Mads Mikkelsen said of his role in Casino Royale: ‘I tried to make Le Chiffre an asthmatic and a heavy smoker. I thought that was a great combination. But no one smokes in a Bond film anymore.’ Caterina Murino also spoke on her role to the Courier Mail, saying: ‘I wasn’t a very huge fan of Bond because I always thought it was a little chauvinistic. It’s a male movie. I think for the first time, women can also enjoy to watch a Bond movie. Daniel is such a great actor but a beautiful man also. Oh, yeah.’

    Sony launched their own Casino Royale mobile game early on December. Available at the official website, the game allows players to ‘acquire Agent 007’s style and wits as you take on life-threatening missions for Her Majesty’s Secret Service.’

    In other promising news, Casino Royale is among the list of films in consideration for a Visual Effects Oscar nomination. Furthermore, Daniel Craig’s James Bond tuxedo raised over £12,000 for children’s charity ChildLine.

    The USA network won a ‘heated bidding war’ for the television rights to Casino Royale. The five-year deal was said to be around $20 million. Expected to begin in June 2009, the package from Sony Pictures TV also gives the USA Network the ‘right to carve out an additional window on broadcast or cable.’

    Vesper Lynd’s Algerian Love Knot necklace and the coral silk, cowel necked sheath dress worn by Solange have both become bestsellers. Supply exceeded demand for the necklace, with inquiries coming from around the world on how to purchase one.

    For a look at how the James Bond series has moved from a ‘post-Tracy’ 007 to a ‘post-Vesper’ 007 as a result of Casino Royale, check out Stephen Rowley’s ‘This Never Happened to the Other Fellow:’ Bond, Vesper, & Tracy.

    You Know My Name

    December was also a busy month when it came to news regarding the title song for Casino Royale, Chris Cornell’s ‘You Know My Name.’ Early on in the month, CBn reported that the song had been nominated in the International Press Academy’s Golden Satellite Awardsand then eventually won. ‘You Know My Name’ is also listed in the early nominations list for the ‘Original Song’ category for the 79th Academy Awards. Included with 55 other songs, the list will be trimmed down to the final three/four/five on 16 January 2007.

    Discussing the world premiere of Casino Royale, Cornell said that hearing his own song over the main title sequence ‘somehow seemed strange. And because it was the choice of a new actor, where they’re reinventing Bond all over again in Britain, you really got this fever pitch that this was not a normal opening of a movie–it was a really big deal.’

    The single entered the UK charts mid-December at #12 (it also entered at #4 on the Top 40 Downloads chart). During its second week, the single rose to #7 on the charts (while dropping to #8 on the Top 40 Downloads chart). In comparison to other recent James Bond title themes, Madonna’s ‘Die Another Day’ charted at #3 in the UK and #8 in the US. ‘The World Is Not Enough’ by Garbage, Sheryl Crow’s ‘Tomorrow Never Dies,’ and Tina Turner’s ‘GoldenEye’ peaked at #11, #12, and #10, respectively, in the UK.

    Order the ‘You Know My Name’ CD single from Amazon.co.uk (£3.99)

    Order the ‘You Know My Name’ CD single from Amazon.com ($11.99)

    The Bond Girls You May Have Overlooked…

    In addition to the striking presence of Bond girls Eva Green, Caterina Murino, and Ivana Milicevic in Casino Royale, the film also features appearances by two Bond girls from the Sean Connery 007-era.

    When an early cast list for Casino Royale was released online earlier in the year, eagle-eyed Bond fans noticed the listing of Tsai Chin, who plays ‘Madame Wu’ in the film–a cardplayer seen in the main poker competition between Bond and Le Chiffre. Bond fans also know her as the character of ‘Ling,’ who is in bed with Bond in the pre-credits of 1967’s You Only Live Twice.

    The other appearance went unnoticed until after the film was released. Listed as ‘Card Player #3’ on the Casino Royale credits is Diane Hartford. In the film, she is the woman seated at the poker table during the game between Bond and Dimitrios in the Bahamas. Bond fans can also spot Hartford in 1965’s Thunderball. She is the woman Bond dances with at the Kiss Kiss Club, while trying to evade Fiona Volpe and the SPECTRE henchmen.

    Only 673 Days Until ‘Bond 22’…

    Daniel Craig is already thinking about how to make his next James Bond film, due out in November 2008, even better than Casino Royale. ‘I said to Barbara Broccoli the other day when we started getting good reviews–which was great–and suddenly we’ve got a successful movie. I said, “Well we’ve done it now because we’ve got to make the next one better!” But that’s the challenge and that’s all I’ve ever really thought about in acting,’ said Craig. ‘[Bond] was the biggest challenge I’ve ever been offered and the course of your life changes.’

    The biggest Bond 22 rumour of the month was an article from The Sun claiming Bond 22 would be based on Ian Fleming’s short story, Risico, with Martin Campbell returning to direct.

    ‘Bosses were so pleased with how well Casino Royale has been received that work has already commenced on Risico at Pinewood Studios,’ claimed a source for The Sun. ‘Some of the same characters will crop up again. But one of the main aspects will be to develop Bond’s complex personality.’ The plot of the novel is supposedly being changed to that the film is a direct continuation from Casino Royale. Note that rumours of this magnitude, at this early stage, should be taken with a grain of salt.

    And while we’re on the subject of rumours… The Killers for Bond 22? Ain’t happening.

    The Literary 007

    On the topic of Young Bond, the wait will soon be over for those wondering what title Charlie Higson’s third novel will feature. CBn reported that the announcement of the chosen title is set to take place at Waterstone’s Piccadilly, Europe’s largest bookstore, on Wednesday, 3 January 2007 from 10:30 to 12:30. Click here for details on the Young Bond Book 3 tour Higson will be making throughout January and February. Additionally, the packaging artwork for the novel was revealed in late December (the title still remaining a mystery).

    The Young Bond Dossier confirmed what the novel will be called in Germany: Goldenboy. As with the previous German editions of Higson’s Young Bond novels, Goldenboy will be published by Arena and is set to be released in March 2007. Click here to pre-order ‘Goldenboy’ from amazon.de.

    Interest sparked for Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel thanks to the film of the same name. The official IFP website reported that the UK Penguin reprint of Casino Royale entered the fiction paperback bestseller chart at #43. The Hebrew reprint peaked at #3–the first time a Bond novel has been in print in that language in many years.

    The 50th issue of ‘OO7’ Magazine OnLine was published and includes several articles on Casino Royale, amongst several other features.

    Lastly, those looking forward to the reprint of James Bond: The Authorised Biography Of 007, by John Pearson, that was supposed to be released in October 2006 are going to have to wait a little while longer: delayed a full year, James Bond: The Authorised Biography Of 007 is set to ship on 4 October 2007 and can be pre-ordered from amazon.co.uk for a discounted price of £12.91.

    007 On DVD

    Boxed sets galore! CBn updated Bond fans with details on all the latest releases of the ‘Ultimate Edition’ 007 DVDs in both the UK and US. Whether you’re looking to collect them all, choose the films of a specific actor, or pick and choose, there is something for everyone.

    Other big news of the month included the announcement of indivdual releases of the Bond films on DVD coming to US in February 2007. There is, however, one catch: The individual releases will only be single-disc editions. The second disc, filled with new and old special features will not be included. Thus, the only extras available will be the audio commentaries for each film.

    Each DVD will retail for $14.98 and the first set of releases (yes, keep rolling your eyes, you didn’t honestly think the US would get all the Bond films released at once, did you?!) include: Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Licence To Kill, and GoldenEye on 6 February.

    Lastly, the eventual DVD/Blu-ray DVD release of Casino Royale is rumoured for 13 March 2007 according to The Digital Bits. The listing for this DVD is currently on amazon.co.uk, where the release date is listed as 27 March (although these listings are constantly subject to changes).

    Click here for CommanderBond.net’s full round-up of all the latest James Bond 007 ‘Ultimate Edition’ DVD news: front and back cover art, box cover art, worldwide release dates, menu and screen caps, new certificates, ordering details, special features, technical specs, and more.

    Reviews, Auctions, Marathons, And More

    Sean Connery’s Walther PP gun, used in the first official 007 film, Dr. No, sold for $106,202 (about £54,000) at a Christie’s auction early on in the month. Several weapons from the Bond series were featured.

    If you’re a fan of the literary Bond, check out the Blades Library Book Club, whose members read and review a 007 novel every two month. Currently, the club is on John Gardner’s Icebreaker. Additionally, club members can review or comment on any of the past read books in the club any time they want. Click here for the full archive of the past read books in the club.

    Spike TV was back once again with their annual ‘007 Days of Christmas’ marathon and CBn members reviewed Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond film, Die Another Day, on the main page.

    CBn – Bond At Its Best

    CommanderBond.net offered several competitions throughout the month, including the chance to win ‘OO7’ Magazine #32 as well as our current competition is for a a James Bond art print signed by artist Robert McGinnis–enter today!

    For a tribute to the many different people who have passed that were associated with James Bond in the films and novels throught out the years, click here for CBn’s ‘In Memory Of…’ article.

    As always, stay up-to-date with CBn. The RSS feed syndicates CBn news stories all over the world. Be sure to also check out the CBn Podcast–the first and only James Bond podcast on the internet–for all the latest news in the world of 007.

    With over 7,500 members, 650,000 posts and endless discussion topics, there has never been a better time to join the CBn Forums to discuss Casino Royale and all other Bond topics. Registration is free and only takes a minute. It’s safe to say that as Bond fans, we have a lot to look forward to. As always, stay tuned to CBn for daily coverage of all things James Bond.

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    Devin Zydel @ 2007-01-02
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