Look, the “James Bond” series was ultimately fine. Brosnan went on to star in “The World is Not Enough” ($361 million worldwide/$135 million budget) and “Die Another Day” ($431.9 million worldwide/$142 million budget), before Daniel Craig took over, bringing us “Casino Royale” and “Skyfall,” the highest-grossing movie in the franchise ever, among others. Losing to “Titanic” didn’t hurt the series, but there is absolutely still a lesson here, and one that probably could have helped the bottom line in a big way.
MGM and United Artists rushed to meet a release date to capitalize on the success of “GoldenEye.” In some way, that is understandable, as they didn’t want another half-decade delay. Yet, as a result, they encountered story problems, very expensive production issues, and even casting woes. In short, everything seemed to be conspiring against the filmmakers who were trying desperately to meet that date. Yet, on the other side of the table, we had Cameron who exercised a great deal of patience (at admittedly great expense) to get his movie right, rather than rush it. Sure, “Titanic” was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of movie, but the core notion of not rushing to meet an arbitrary date does seem to carry some weight.
Had MGM not rushed things, they might have been able to keep the budget under control, and they probably wouldn’t have had to directly face off against one of the biggest hits in cinematic history. Who knows? Maybe “Tomorrow Never Dies” would have made a lot more money under those proposed, different circumstances. Hindsight is always 20/20, and this is all easy to say as a guy not running a gigantic movie studio. Still, it’s hard not to wonder if the decision-makers would rethink some of those decisions, provided the chance to do so.