[This post contains MINOR SPOILERS for Spectre]
Among the many franchise sequels hitting theaters in 2015 is Spectre, the 24th installment in the long-running James Bond franchise. Anticipation for a new 007 mission is always going to run high; but in this case, even more so. The previous Bond film, Skyfall, became one of the standout entries in the canon, scoring rave reviews from critics and over $1 billion worldwide gross. With director Sam Mendes returning to helm Spectre, the hope is he'll be able to replicate that success.
There are just under eight months to go before the film's November 2015 release, so now's as good a time as any to start ramping up the marketing campaign for the tentpole. Fans are eagerly awaiting the first teaser trailer for the film, but for now they'll have to make do with a new teaser poster. Perhaps it's a sign that a preview is right around the corner.
Sony released the one-sheet today, which you can see below. In it, Craig's Bond is wearing a get-up that is very similar to an outfit worn by Roger Moore's incarnation of the famous spy during the climax of Live and Let Die; most notably, the black turtleneck:
Click for Full-Sized Version:
One look at this poster and you can see: it certainly fits the definition of a teaser, since it hardly reveals anything about the plot of Spectre. At this stage in the early going, though, that's perfectly fine. This poster's only job was to announce that another 007 adventure is coming soon and start raising awareness - in that, it's successful.
An area where the production team hasn't been so successful is the movie's budget. During the Sony server hack last year, Spectre made some unwanted headlines when it was revealed that costs had swelled up to an astronomical $300 million, and that there were major issues with the film's third act. As Mendes tried to straighten everything out, the screenplay went through a couple revisions before cameras started to roll in December 2014. One of the catalysts for those rewrites was the pursuit of Mexican tax incentives, which producers were strongly pushing for.
Tax Analysts had a breakdown of the situation, which outlines how Spectre acquired $14 million in breaks thanks to some retooling of the opening sequence. MGM president Johnathan Glickman was the one who proposed the edits in memos, which included "ariel shots of modern Mexico City buildings," using a non-Mexican actor to portray "Sciarra" (an assassin Bond is tracking), and changing the assassin's target to "an international leader" instead of the governor of the Federal District.
Apparently, all of these changes were made during script revisions. In addition to the ones listed above, a Mexican actress (Stephanie Sigman?) was hired to play "Estrella," whose hotel room Bond uses when he begins his hunt of Sciarra. Also, the Spectre cold open has been altered a bit, changing locales from a cage match with no clear geographical setting to a pursuit during Mexico's "Day of the Dead" celebration. In an email, Glickman expressed his happiness with the developments, and encouraged the team to pursue all options in acquiring further incentives.
At first glance, this may seem like sacrificing artistic integrity in order to make some money. However, it's arguably quite justifiable when you step back and look at the big picture. If Spectre's budget did reach in excess of $300 million, then it's reasonable for Glickman to look for avenues to cut down costs. Even if Spectre can reach the billion-dollar heights of its predecessor, the profits will be higher if production fees are lower. That's just simple math.
If anything from a Bond film needed to be moved around, the cold open is arguably the best element to retool. Throughout the franchise's history, these sequences have mainly served as a way to draw viewers in with intense action; they rarely service the overall plot of the movie they're in. They just show that our hero is always hopping from mission to mission - and as long as they're thrilling, it doesn't really matter where they're set or what takes place. It's not like Mendes was forced to replace a captivating narrative he had in mind.
Spectre will hit theaters November 6, 2015.
Source: Sony, Tax Analysts