Daniel Craig’s James Bond Film Forever Changed a National Holiday Into a Global Phenomenon With Just One Scene in the Backdrop of 2015’s Spectre

Daniel Craig's Spectre made Mexico City's Day of the Dead celebration a tourist attraction.

daniel craig’s james bond film forever changed a national holiday into a global phenomenon with just one scene in the backdrop of 2015’s spectre

SUMMARY

  • Daniel Craig's Spectre featured Mexico City's Day of the Dead in the movie's opening scene.
  • Its popularity forced the city's government to hold annual festivals for tourism purposes.
  • Some people criticized the event and claimed it has lost its true essence.
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James Bond’s opening scenes have always delivered a spectacular sight, but Daniel Craig’s Spectre did something that forever changed a country. The Day of the Dead is an important event in Mexican culture, but after Craig’s movie, it has turned into a full-blown festival.

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spectre james bond daniel craig
Daniel Craig in Spectre

Spectre opened with the British spy agent tracking down an enemy in the midst of the Day of the Dead parade, with the streets filled with giant floats, live music performances, and skeleton-dressed people. It was a colorful sight to behold, and one that attracted millions of tourists from around the world.

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Daniel Craig’s Spectre Transformed Mexico City’s Day Of The Dead Into A Huge Festival

When the production team of James Bond flew to Mexico City, the government paid Sony Pictures to represent the place and culture as a vibrant and lively one. This move would allow for more tourists to flock to the area and experience the famous parade.

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Because the celebration in the movie was nowhere to be seen, the government decided to deliver what people expected to witness once they landed in the city.

The Day of the Dead has been a solemn and private event for families to commemorate their loved ones who already passed away. Following the scenes in Spectre, this national holiday became a global phenomenon.

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Day of the Dead scene in Spectre
Day of the Dead scene in Spectre

The mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Ángel Mancera, decided to capitalize on the movie’s popular scene and turned the holiday into a festival. Lourdes Berho, chief executive of the Mexico Tourism Board said via Independent:

When this movie hit the big screen and was seen by millions and millions of people in 67 countries, that started to create expectations that we would have something. We knew that this was going to generate a desire on the part of people here, among Mexicans and among tourists, to come and participate in a celebration, a big parade.”

Spectre honored the holiday with respect when they shot the movie, making it a nice backdrop against 007’s story. Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead on November 1 and 2.

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Day Of The Dead Festival Earned Criticism After James Bond Movie

Day of the Dead scene in Spectre
Day of the Dead scene in Spectre

The tourism and fame that the national holiday received after Daniel Craig’s Spectre has also raised many eyebrows. Some criticized it for the loss of sincerity and the real essence of the tradition.

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Shawn Haley told The Guardian that the tradition has evolved over the years. He noted that it would continue to transform into a less spiritual holiday and more of a festival:

We are seeing the transition from a private family celebration with folks who truly believed the dead family members returned home to a much more community-oriented event [which] has removed much of the sincere belief.”

Esteban Illades, the editor of the magazine Nexos, also slammed the decision to turn it into a carnival:

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This is a cheap stunt. They film James Bond here, and now we have the ‘traditional Day of the Dead parade’. Let’s see what happens when [the mayor] finishes reading The Da Vinci Code.”

Despite the backlash, the celebration continues in Mexico City. The Grand Day of the Dead Parade will take place on Saturday, 4 November 2023, and will begin at Lions Gate of Chapultepec Park.

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Written by Ariane Cruz

Ariane Cruz, Senior Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.