Following ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, the producers planned to release ‘For Your Eyes Only’ as the next film in the series. However, thanks to the enormous popularity of ‘Star Wars’, plans changed and the space-focused ‘Moonraker’ got bumped up.
In the film, billionaire industrialist Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) plans to build a fleet of space shuttles that will take his members of his hand-picked ‘master race’ to a space station, while he poisons Earth with toxic gas, killing everyone on the planet. His ‘master race’ would then return to Earth once it was safe, allowing him to start a new civilization.
‘Mooraker’ divided critics. Most enjoyed the special effects in the film, while criticizing the more campy elements, like a gondola that inflates and drives around Venice’s St. Mark’s Square.
One thing that couldn’t be ignored was the huge take ‘Moonraker’ collected at the box office. The $210,308,099 it made in theaters worldwide remained the biggest box office haul of the franchise until it was surpassed by 1995’s ‘GoldenEye’.
Another middle-of-the-road entry in the series, ‘Moonraker’ extended the Bond franchise into science-fiction territory. While it stuck to the requisite Bond formula, it was outlandish and a bit too much for even the over-the-top 007 franchise.
A trip back to Earth and back to reality was needed for the series following ‘Moonraker’, and it’s that just what happened, as we will see in tomorrow’s entry, ‘For Your Eyes Only’.