Though it was critically panned (57% on Rotten Tomatoes) and generally reviled by hardcore fans, it was still a huge hit. The combination of Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry provided an enormous box office draw. Without taking inflation into account, it was the highest grossing Bond film ever released. It earned $432 million worldwide, and was the sixth highest grossing film of 2002.
The producers were faced with a difficult decision. Brosnan, though still wildly popular, had fulfilled his contract and was about to turn 50. The series had also begun to lose credibility during Brosnan’s run, with the quality of the movies gradually devolving until they were cartoonish action films.
They made the difficult decision to recast the role of James Bond, replacing Brosnan with the relatively unknown Daniel Craig. They also decided to create a more grounded movie… to return 007 to more believable territory.
The result? A movie that not only overtook “Die Another Day” as the series’ box office champion, but one that many fans list as the greatest film in the franchise’s proud history.