A license to print money · handelsblatt global edition


007 Tourism A License to Print Money By Simon Book and Christian Wermke

James Bond, aka Daniel Craig, breezed into Berlin on Wednesday for the premiere of “Spectre.” As the secret agent and his entourage continue their promotional tour, a ski resort in Sölden, Austria, hopes to cash in on its screen time in the movie. read Bond in Berlin. “Spectre” had its German premiere on Wednesday, with stars Daniel Craig (l), Naomie Harris and Christoph

Waltz on the red carpet. Source: DPA

Jakob “Jack” Falkner of the Austrian ski resort of Sölden recalls when Barbara Broccoli, the producer of James Bond films, invited him to the storied Pinewood Studios near London last January.

Mr. Falkner was supposed to be at Hahnenkamm Races, touted as Austria’s greatest ski festival, but instead he found himself in a replica of his hometown Sölden in the alpine valley of Ötztal in Tyrol in western Austria. His new mountain restaurant, the Ice Q, was there too – perfectly replicated for an interior scene of “Spectre,” the new 007 film. “That was totally crazy,” Mr. Falkner said.

Standing in Pinewood Studios, Mr. Falkner realized that Bond could be a boon for him. He expects the latest movie in the spy series, which had its U. K. premiere on Monday and German premiere on Wednesday, to attract major tourism and business to the Sölden area.

He would not be the first. Mr. Falkner and his town are joining a long list of people, locales and businesses that have profited over the past 53 years from association with the 007 film franchise.

Director Sam Mendes, Bond actor Daniel Craig and a crew of 400 in 50 trucks descended on the alpine village. The film crew poured concrete for their own airport in the mountains and leveled a mountain road.

Ms. Broccoli and her team began scouting locations for the movie a year ago. They needed mountains, snow, fantastic buildings. And Mr. Falkner needed the next big ski-tour thing for Sölden. The businessman owns cable cars, the Central five-star hotel, and the restaurant, Ice Q, on the top of the Gaislachkogel mountain peak. As the lynchpin of local tourism, he began negotiations with Ms. Broccoli.

“We’ll make everything possible for you, ” Mr. Falkner told the producer. “Then we’re in business,” Ms. Broccoli replied.

A short time later, director Sam Mendes, Bond actor Daniel Craig and a crew of 400 in 50 trucks descended on the alpine village. The film crew poured concrete for their own airport in the mountains and leveled a mountain road. They filmed in the Tyrol for 31 days.

Local officials estimate revenues of around €10 million ($11.05 million) from that month-long period. But the really big business is likely still to come.

Few film franchises are as attractive as the British agent with his license to kill. “Spectre” is Bond’s 24th outing.

Mr. Falkner hopes the millions watching “Spectre” will see his cable cars riding across the big screen, and that tourists will come in droves, wanting to eat where Bond ate, to sleep where the spy seduced women, to ski where he got away from the bad guys.

“I believe we have given an awful lot, and will also get an awful lot for it,” Mr. Falkner said.

Local Sölden tourism king, Jakob Falkner, is betting on Bond to bring herds of tourists to his town. Source: Picture Alliance

So far in the Bond series, filming has been carried out at 150 locations worldwide. Five countries were used as locations in “Spectre”: Austria, Britain, Italy, Mexico and Morocco. Each one hopes to benefits from “Bond toursim,” just as Tokyo, Hamburg, Istanbul, Los Angeles, Beirut, Rio and the Bahamas did before them.

The Atlantic hotel in Hamburg, for example, advertises a “James Bond suite.” In 1997, Pierce Brosnan jumped around on the roof of the luxury hotel in the film “Tomorrow Never Dies.” In the Swiss canton of Tessin, you can bungee jump off the Verzasca Dam like 007 did in 1995 in “Goldeneye.”

The island of Ko Phung Kan would be just be one of many fabulous spots in Thailand’s Andaman Sea if “The Man with the Golden Gun” hadn’t have been shot there in 1974. Even today, umpteen excursion boats set sail in the direction of the Bond island on a daily basis.

Even London, which isn’t exactly light on tourist attractions, makes use of Bond – after all, this is his home. An exhibition of 007 vehicles, “Bond in Motion,” has been running for months at the London Film Museum. For a $22 entrance fee, visitors can marvel at one of the 12 Aston Martins wrecked during the filming of “Quantum of Solace.” Or slip into a tux or stick their heads through a life-size Bond film poster and have their picture taken for $11 a print.

The Bond walking tour in London is especially popular. The $110, two-hour walk includes Charing Cross underground station, which served as a prison in the latest film, and Admiralty Arch, where the inventor of Bond, novelist Ian Fleming, began his own career as a secret agent. “He was a hard drinking, hard smoking, hard womanizing man – like James Bond,” one guide says.

The tours are booked months in advance. Bus tours, drives in Bond cars, VIP tours and a London tour with a studio lunch also are available. Those who are willing to pay up can even meet a former Bond star or jet around Europe on the trail of the fictional spy.

“That’s what we need, too,” said Mr. Falkner in Sölden. “But it could be a problem with the licenses.”

Mr. Falker is preparing for negotiations about licensing rights connected to the film. He would like to go to London with an exact plan: guided tours, special menus in Ice Q. There’s even talk of a 4D theater on the summit of Gaislachkogel. The official negotiations are to begin at the start of the year, when it will be clear how many millions of people saw the film. The more there are, the more expensive it will be for Mr. Falkner.

It’s a far cry from the simplicity of the 1960s, when Schilthorn, a summit in Switzerland, featured in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Back then, a four-page contract stipulated that everything that happened on the mountain could be used without any licensing fees. People there can do almost whatever they want with Bond and the Swiss have gone over the top marketing the Bond link.

Now a cable car ride at the Swiss community costs €95, including admission to Bond World. All this and other 007-related goods and services help make Schilthorn the second most expensive mountain for tourists to visit in the Alpine region. But that hasn’t stopped the flow: 60 percent more tourists come today than in 2012.

No wonder then that competition to be the next Bond location is stiff and subsidies to attract the production company are the norm. Tyrol, for example, subsidized the filming of “Spectre” with €1.5 million in tax money. In Mexico, €20 million in public funds were offered to seal the deal. For that, Mexican officials were able to submit things they wanted in the script and demand that Mexico be presented as a vacation paradise – and not as the location of drug wars.

In Sölden, people are not even sure how long their mountains will appear in the new film. Mr. Falkner is hoping for at least 10 minutes of screen-time. He doesn’t know if the village’s name will be mentioned or if the logo of his cable car will appear. Bond’s producers didn’t want to make any promises.

Before the major press conference at the start of filming, Mr. Falkner told film producer Ms. Broccoli that it would be great if the name Sölden could be mentioned. Director Mr. Mendes then said to the journalists, “We’re back in the snow, in Sölden, Austria.” Mr. Falkner believes people took note.

Simon Book and Christian Wermke cover political, corporate and celebrity for Handelsblatt. To contact: book@handelsblatt. com, wermke@handelsblatt. com Want to keep reading?

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Why it matters

Cities, islands, even mountains that serve as Bond film locations can count on big bucks from tourists looking to soak up some secret-agent allure. Facts

Producers are often offered government subsidies to make movies in a given location.

Parts of the new James Bond movie were filmed in the Austrian ski resort of Sölden in the state of Tyrol.

“Spectre” film producers received tax subsidies worth €1.5 million from Tyrol but spent an estimated €10 million during a month of filming there.