Social Mood Conference | Socionomics Foundation

By Chuck Thompson | Excerpted from the June 2016 Socionomist

The James Bond film franchise launched in 1962, and its performance over five decades provides an opportunity to gauge the effects of social mood on changing consumer preferences for heroes and villains. In the June 2016 issue of The Socionomist, Chuck Thompson looks at the franchise’s 25 films and how they performed versus the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Read excerpts from his article below.

In a 2010 speech to a gathering of futurists in Boston, Robert Prechter said that during positive social mood trends, people tend to be attracted to films with positive themes and those that have heroes and villains with distinct, black-and-white morality. During negative social mood trends, people tend to be attracted to films with negative themes and those that have heroes and villains with ambiguous morality. This observation has proved true over the past five decades with the James Bond film franchise. …

Public sentiment regarding the quality of Bond films is reflected on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), where tens of thousands of viewers rate films using a scale from 1 to 10. …

Bond’s popularity first peaked in 1964 with the third film in the series, Goldfinger, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was rising. Stocks trended lower in the late 1960s, and filmmakers became “introspective, doubting and cynical,” Prechter observed. In 1970, studios released films like Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. …

The 1970s and early 1980s brought some tough times for the Bond franchise, whose ratings bottomed in 1983 with Never Say Never Again. But the franchise regained favor during the subsequent bull market in the 1980s and 1990s. Ratings bottomed again with the stock market in 2002.


In the remainder of this article, Thompson looks at the performance of Bond films during the past 15 years. He also discusses the strengths of the Bond character and his greatest weakness: dependence on positive social mood.

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