More dependable than your 401k, this coming Friday, James Bond returns for his 23rd adventure in “Quantum of Solace”. It’s been well reviewed so far with a positive tomatometer, should lead the box office this weekend and has already broken box office records in the UK. Initially most were skeptical that Daniel Craig would prove a fitting heir to the Bond throne, but the popularity and boffo revenues from “Casino Royale” has put that skepticism to rest. However, how does Craig’s reboot of the venerable series compare to the others on an economic basis?  Or to put it another way, which Bond gives more bang for the buck?

Now, everyone has their favorite Bond.  Some prefer the original Connery, some the tongue in cheek Moore and many these days (my wife included) the chiseled, hard ass, Craig. But acting and looks is one thing and money another. To compare them economically I first updated the US grosses of all their films to 2008 dollars and then averaged for Connery films, Moore films, etc…  Looking at things that way, the very respectable $167 MM ($179 MM in 2008 dollars) of “Casino Royale” only comes in seventh on the list behind such classics as “Goldfinger” and “Thuderball” but also such dogs as “Moonraker”. Doing the math, Connery is the champ with a per film average of $244 MM followed by Craig with $179 MM, granted for only one film. To beat Connery, QofS will have to gross $310 MM which seems highly unlikely.  Check out the chart for all the Bonds’ returns.

If you are a Timothy Dalton fan, I’m very sorry.

And here’s how the films’ US box office come out in 2008 dollars.

  1. Thunderball – Connery – $436 MM
  2. Goldfinger – Connery – $356 MM
  3. You Only Live Twice – Connery – $279 MM
  4. Diamonds are Forever – Connery – $234 MM
  5. Moonraker – Moore – $209 MM
  6. Die Another Day – Brosnan – $193 MM
  7. Casino Royale – Craig – $179 MM
  8. From Russia With Love – Connery – $173 MM
  9. Live and Let Die – Moore – $172 MM
  10. Tomorrow Never Dies – Brosnan – $168 MM
  11. The Spy Who Loved Me – Moore – $167 MM
  12. The World is Not Enough – Brosnan – $164 MM
  13. Goldeneye – Brosnan – $151 MM
  14. Octopussy – Moore – $147 MM
  15. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Lazenby – $134 MM
  16. For Your Eyes Only – Moore – $130 MM
  17. Never Say Never Again – Moore – $120 MM
  18. Dr. No – Moore – $113 MM
  19. A View to a Kill – $101 MM
  20. The Living Daylights – Dalton – $97 MM
  21. The Man With the Golden Gun – $92 MM
  22. License to Kill – Dalton – $60 MM