The James Bond franchise is in a precarious spot. The series' latest entry, Spectre, wasn't quite as well received as its immediate predecessors, Skyfall. And while on the promotional tour for Spectre, current 007 Daniel Craig commented to virtually anyone who would listen that he'd rather chew on busted glass than go through this process again. Ever since those comments, a laundry list of possible replacements have keep 007 tongues wagging, but now there's a rumor that Sony may dump a vault load of cash at Craig's doorstep to keep him around for two more films.
Daniel Craig is 48, and they haven't even begun production on the next James Bond movie, but Radar Online is making a splash today by reporting that sources have told them Sony is prepared to offer Craig $150 million to stay as Bond for the next two movies in the series. They still see Craig as bridge to a young successor, but the report claims that the current Bond is still seen as pivotal to the success of the franchise, and they'd like for him to shoot two more movies before passing the baton to the next-generation 007. The source tells Radar:
They will shoot two more films, which will be made virtually back-to-back, preferably featuring Daniel as 007 beforehe passes the figurative baton to someone elsefor a third movie that will mark the start of the new era.
Now, let's discuss this in greater detail. Many would agree that Daniel Craig has been a successful Bond, having had two rock solid hits in Casino Royale and Skyfall. Craig has brought a street-level toughness to 007, allowing the sophisticated spy series to reboot the concept of a James Bond movie. Judi Dench's M, back when she was still with the franchise, called Craig's Bond "a blunt instrument," but that's exactly what the series needed at the time.
However, Spectre earned far less than Skyfall -- the tune of $880 million globally, where Skyfall took in more than $1.1 billion, the first time in franchise history a Bond film managed to do that. So does that mean that Craig is trending down? Or is Spectre a dip in the same way that Quantum of Solace was a dip after Casino, meaning that Craig is due for a massive hit next?
Either way, the numbers don't add up. No film star is worth $75 million in salary, which is what Daniel Craig would earn per picture if this deal were to hold up. Also, there's no guarantee that Sony will even retain the rights to the James Bond series in the future. As Deadline reports, Warner Bros. and other studios are vying for the distribution rights to the popular franchise, and after a few years in the game, Sony could just walk away.
So yeah, take this report with a few grains of salt, because even if Sony wanted Daniel Craig to return, and if the actor were willing, I can't see the studio ponying up that amount of cash to retain him or his services. Not with a long list of suitable replacements, for more than 75% off the going rate.