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Goodby Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square

Tomottow Never Dies teaser poster

“Yesterday is a memory, today is history, tomorrow is in the hands of one man...”
Following a press screening on the morning of Monday December 8th, Tomorrow Never Dies then had its World Charity Premiere at the ODEON Leicester Square on the evening of Tuesday December 9, 1997. Unusually this was the first James Bond premiere since Thunderball not to be attended by any members of the Royal family. The tradition had started in 1967 when the premiere of You Only Live Twice was attended by Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Held in aid of the King George's Fund For Sailors, the Tomorrow Never Dies premiere was attended by Pierce Brosnan with his partner Keeley Shaye-Smith, co-stars Michelle Yeoh, Desmond Llewelyn, Jonathan Pryce, and Gotz Otto who played his henchman Stamper.

Tomorrow Never Dies title song vocalist Sheryl Crow also attended the premiere, as did three-time James Bond title song performer Shirley Bassey. Also in attendance at the premiere were Judi Dench, playing M for the second time opposite Pierce Brosnan, Samantha Bond (also reprising her role as Moneypenny), Colin Salmon (making his Bond film debut as Charles Robinson) and Geoffrey Palmer, who played the trigger-happy Admiral Roebuck in Tomorrow Never Dies. Burt Kwouk who had appeared in three James Bond films was also one of the invited guests, along with ‘Golden girl’ Shirley Eaton. The after-premiere party was held at Bedford Square, home of original Ian Fleming publisher, Jonathan Cape. British actor John Hurt and Irish singer-songwriter and Live Aid fundraiser Sir Bob Geldof were two of the celebrities attending the premiere and party.

Tomorrow Never Dies premiere Odeon Leicester Square

ABOVE: (left) Tomorrow Never Dies had its World Charity Premiere at the ODEON Leicester Square on Tuesday December 9, 1997. (top right) Pierce Brosnan attended the premiere with his partner Keeley Shaye-Smith (bottom right) Desmond Llewelyn with Jonathan Pryce arrive at the ODEON Leicester Square.

Tomorrow Never Dies went on general release across the UK from Friday December 12, 1997 with some cinemas having advance previews on Thursday December 11th. Many cities also held regional premieres for Tomorrow Never Dies which was the first James Bond film to be widely promoted on the internet. Smirnoff Vodka ran a competition “007 Shaken Not Stirred Adventure” to win a trip to Jamaica and featured the film heavily on its website in the months leading up to the release. During its London release Tomorrow Never Dies also played for eight weeks at the ODEON Marble Arch from Friday December 12, 1997. This venue had been converted into a five-screen multiplex in January 1997. Tomorrow Never Dies initially played at the ODEON Leicester Square for six weeks, before transferring to the adjoining ODEON Mezzanine for a further fourteen weeks from Friday January 23, 1998.

Tomorrow Never Dies Odeon Leicester Square

By popular demand Tomorrow Never Dies also opened at the 1,330-seat screen 1 at the Empire Leicester Square on Friday January 23, 1998, where it playing for three weeks. Newspaper advertisements proclaimed this was ‘The Biggest Bond Ever!’, and although not as profitable as its predecessor, Tomorrow Never Dies was still very successful at the box-office grossing over $330 million worldwide. With Pierce Brosnan now firmly established as a very popular Bond in the eyes of critics and public alike, work began on the eighteenth film in the series in January 1999.

“The Man with the Midas Touch”
To coincide with the publication of When The Snow Melts, the autobiography of James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli [co-written with his friend and Journalist Donald Zec (1919-2021]), the National Film Theatre presented a season of James Bond films throughout September 1998.

Cubby Broccoli season NFT 1998

The season began at 8.30pm on Sunday September 6, 1998 with a screening of Tomorrow Never Dies in the 125-seat NFT2. Monday September 7th saw a double-bill of GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies at 6.10pm this time in the 450-seat NFT1. On Thursday September 17th at 6.30pm Michael G. Wilson (now co-producer of the series with Barbara Broccoli) took to the stage in NFT1 for a talk entitled ‘Behind the Scenes of James Bond’ where he spoke about the filmmaking process and the legacy of his stepfather ‘Cubby’ Broccoli. This was followed by a screening of the first James Bond film Dr. No (1962) at 8.45pm. The following day saw From Russia With Love screen in NFT1 at 8.40pm, with a double-bill of Goldfinger (1964) and You Only Live Twice (1967) starting at 6.20pm in the main auditorium. Sunday September 20, 1998 On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) screened in in NFT1 at 3.20pm, followed by a double-bill of Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Live And Let Die (1973) at 6.10pm.

James Bond season National Film Theatre 1998

A second showing of Goldfinger in NFT1 at 8.45pm on Monday September 21st and From Russia With Love at 6.20pm on Tuesday September 22nd, was followed by a double-bill of Dr. No/Thunderball on Thursday 24th at 6.30pm. A final screening of You Only Live Twice this time in 125-seat NFT2 took place on Friday September 25, 1998, with Diamonds Are Forever on Saturday 26th at 8.30pm. The season concluded with a second showing of Live And Let Die (1973) at 6.10 in NFT2 on Wednesday September 30, 1998. The 1998 season utilised the new prints acquired by the British Film Institute in 1996/97 and marked the last time the films (except for You Only Live Twice) were screened at the National Film Theatre in 35mm format. The 2009 ‘Albert R. Broccoli: Bond and Beyond’ season at the NFT used new digital restorations of all films up to and including Quantum of Solace (2008). The newly tweaked revisionist versions were taken from the Lowry Digital Images restorations which included wire removal on some of the model work in the early films, and colours which did not always replicate the way the films were originally seen on their theatrical debut. The rarely screened 35mm prints of the James Bond series up to and including Live And Let Die are still held by the British Film Institute and therefore represent the films as they would have been originally seen in cinemas before the advent of uniform digital editions, which have subsequently been utilised in the majority of theatrical screenings and duplicated for home entertainment formats.

The World Is Not Enough teaser poster

“Orbis Non Sufficit”
In order to compete in the marketplace the James Bond series continued the tradition of issuing special teaser posters announcing production, and early trailers containing very little actual footage from the film. The World Is Not Enough had an effective ‘Flame Girl’ teaser campaign based on a design conceived by Dianne Reynolds, which was utilised on posters and the CD-single of the theme song by Garbage.

The World Is Not Enough premiere Los Angeles 1999

ABOVE: The World Is Not Enough had its World Premiere at the Fox Bruin Theatre in Westwood Village, Los Angeles on November 8, 1999. Far less formal than the London premieres, the event was attended by Pierce Brosnan, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane, John Cleese, Desmond Llewelyn and director Michael Apted. Two-time James Bond girl Maud Adams also appeared at the Los Angeles premiere, along with Rene Russo who would co-star alongside Pierce Brosnan in The Thomas Crown Affair (1999).

The World Is Not Enough European Charity premiere Odeon Leicester Square 1999
The World Is Not Enough newspaper ad

The World Is Not Enough premiered in Los Angeles on November 8, 1999 and then had its European Charity Premiere at the ODEON Leicester Square on Monday November 22, 1999. Like its predecessor, no members of the Royal family attended the London premiere. Along with Pierce Brosnan, other cast members present were Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Robert Carlyle, Robbie Coltrane, Judi Dench and Desmond Llewelyn whose final James Bond premiere this would be. The longest-serving member of the James Bond films died in a car crash on December 19, 1999, less than one month after the release of The World Is Not Enough. Roger Moore, who starred with Llewelyn in six of his seven Bond films, spoke at a memorial service held on January 6, 2000. John Cleese, Llewelyn's co-star in The World Is Not Enough, would briefly take over the role of Q in Die Another Day (2002). Once again hugely successful at the box-office taking $37 million in the USA during its opening weekend, The World Is Not Enough consolidated Pierce Brosnan's status as a major international star.

Special advance previews of The World Is Not Enough were held at many cinemas on Thursday November 25, 1999, including the ODEON Marble Arch where it then played for twelve weeks. After eight weeks at the ODEON Leicester Square, The World Is Not Enough transferred to the adjoining ODEON Mezzanine for a further nine weeks from Friday January 14, 2000. The same day saw Pierce Brosnan's third James Bond adventure open at the Plaza Piccadilly where it screened for two weeks; and the Virgin Trocadero, where it played for nine weeks - ending its West End run on Thursday March 16, 2000. This time ultimately grossing more than it's predecessor at the worldwide box-office, newspaper advertisements were once again quick to promote the success when the film was showing across London.

Licence To Thrill - Trocadero Centre London 1999 opened by Desmond Llewelyn

ABOVE: Three months ahead of the London premiere of The World Is Not Enough (1999), Desmond Llewelyn had opened ‘007 Licence To Thrill’ on August 17, 1999 - a simulator ride theme park attraction situated at the Trocadero Centre on Piccadilly Circus and Coventry Street. The building was formerly known as the London Pavilion, where Dr. No had premiered in 1962, and every subsequent James Bond film up to and including Moonraker (1979) had screened at some point during their original West End engagement or re-release. The attraction was produced by Landmark Entertainment, best known for producing interactive experiences at Universal Studios including ‘Jurassic Park: The Ride’, and ‘Terminator 2 3D’.  Then-current M, Judi Dench and Desmond Llewelyn as Q, both reprised their roles for the pre-filmed parts of the attraction. Its script was penned by GoldenEye screenwriter Bruce Feirstein, who also collaborated on the mechanical aspects of the ride. Also on display at the Trocadero Centre were the Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Acrostar ‘Bede’ Jet from Octopussy (1983). The attraction had debuted in the USA as ‘James Bond 007 A License To Thrill’ on May 9, 1998, with a joint premiere at five North American amusement parks - Paramount's Great America, King Dominion, Carowinds, King's Island; and Canada's Wonderland in Toronto, Canada. The final location of the attraction was Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, which opened on December 1, 1999 to coincide with the Antipodean release of Pierce Brosnan's third 007 adventure.

“The Architect of Illusion”
Whilst The World Is Not Enough was still playing in the West End, there was a chance for Londoner's to see You Only Live Twice back on the big screen at the National Film Theatre. Sean Connery's fifth James Bond adventure was screened as part of ‘Architects of Illusion’ - a season of films devoted to the art of the Production Designer. You Only Live Twice was screened in NFT1 at 6.10pm on Monday February 7, 2000 with Ken Adam attending the performance, and again on Thursday February 10th at 8.30pm, this time in the 130-seat NFT3. ‘Moonraker, Strangelove and Other Celluloid Dreams - The Visionary Art of Ken Adam’ an exhibition of the work of the legendary Production Designer had been on display at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, from November 17, 1999 to January 9, 2000.

You Only Live Twice National Film Theatre 2000

The films also included in that months ‘Junior NFT’ strand were also shown as an extension to the ‘Architects of Illusion’ season, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which screened in NFT3 on Saturday February 5, 2000. The National Film Theatre booklet for February 2000 noted that the film was “Normally shown as an example of Roald Dahl's screenwriting, or Roland Emmett's inventions, or even just for fun, CCBB is also a showcase for the production design work of Ken Adam”. The 1968 musical fantasy based on the 1964 children's book by Ian Fleming, was produced by Albert R. Broccoli from a screenplay by the authors friend (and You Only Live Twice screenwriter) Roald Dahl, with additional dialogue from James Bond screenwriter Richard Maibaum.