The James Bond film that made the least money at the cinema


This is where things get tricky, because it’s not fair to look at the dollar amounts for every Bond movie. According to this gauge, the first entry in the series lands in the cellar. 1963’s “Dr. No” only collected $16 million domestically (via Numbers). But ticket prices were considerably lower at the time, and in fact fluctuated throughout the series. So what we really need to look at here is the adjusted dollar amount, which is based on the actual number of tickets sold, which in turn levels the playing field.

By that metric, we find that it’s Timothy Dalton’s swan song that gets the dubious honor. “License To Kill,” starring Dalton in 1989, grossed just $35 million ($73 million adjusted via Business Intern.) The adjusted total of “Dr. No” is more than twice that amount. Dalton’s farewell to the franchise fell so low that producers waited six years before rebooting Bond with Pierce Brosnan in 1995’s much more successful “GoldenEye.”

So what was wrong with “License To Kill” for the audience? For one, it was a bit darker and more violent than previous episodes. Dalton’s Bond was also more brooding than previous incarnations, particularly his immediate predecessor Roger Moore, who always approached the role with a more comedic nod. That said, “License to Kill” is actually quite an entertaining entry in the series and has a 78% critical rating on rotten tomatoes. It just wasn’t what audiences wanted at the time.

As for the highest rating, that accolade belongs to 1965’s $63 million “Thunderball” (adjusted to $624 million via Business Intern). It of course starred the original Bond, Sean Connery. Apparently no one does it better.


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