James Bond isn’t the longest running franchise in film history; that honor goes to Godzilla, who has been stomping around since 1954. But second place is nothing to sneeze at, especially given how many times Western culture has torn itself down and built itself up since Dr. No in 1962. The series has managed to bust out 24 films — or 25, whenever we finally get No Time to Die — over nearly 60 years, or one every three or so years. And yet, as Forbes points out, the outgoing Trump administration has made another ignominious record: He’s the first American president since Dwight D. Eisenhower to not have a Bond movie come out during his time in office.
Mind you, that’s no slight on Eisenhower: There simply wasn’t a Bond movie until John F. Kennedy, an outspoken fan of Ian Fleming’s British spy novels, assumed office. (Though technically 007’s screen debut was a 1954 television adaptation of Casino Royale, starring American Barry Nelson, so that fell under Ike’s watch.) But every president since has scored two or three big screen 007 outings. And Ronald Reagan got four!
But Trump got zero. The last one, Spectre, came out all the way back in 2015, toward the back end of the Obama era. (He only got two.) In Trump’s defense, it’s not like it’s his fault; there was some drama involved with the franchise, partly to do with outgoing star Daniel Craig having to have his arm twisted to do one more outing.
Although, come to think of it, maybe it is Trump’s fault: Had the pandemic been better managed from the top, perhaps No Time to Die would be hitting theaters in time for Thanksgiving, as was the plan earlier in the year until things got even worse. Trump could have watched the new Bond two months before leaving office. Instead, he’ll be watching plenty of other things on television, including Joe Biden’s inauguration in January.