How the Beatles and a Typo Inspired the Name of a James Bond Film

The James Bond franchise has been around for a long time. Many of the titles of the 007 films are clearly designed to evoke a sense of danger. Some of these titles include No Time to Die, License to Kill, and A View to a Kill.

The name of the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies certainly fits into that category. However, the title makes no sense. The film might be called something else if not for a Beatles song.

A scene from Tomorrow Never Dies | Keith Hamshere/Sygma via Getty Images

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Sometimes writers will critique their own work. Bruce Feirstein, the co-writer of Tomorrow Never Dies, acknowledged the film’s title is meaningless. In Vanity Fair, he wrote “So, how did the title for Tomorrow Never Dies come about? As Janet Maslin so kindly pointed out in her scathing pan in The New York Times, the title makes no sense. (Not that I remember every single word she wrote or anything.)”

The title makes no sense, however, it’s not totally disconnected from the film. The movies’ villain, Elliot Carver, is a media mogul who runs a publication called Tomorrow. Is that why the film is called Tomorrow Never Dies? Not entirely. Feirstein had a different title in mind which tied in with the newspaper more.

Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies | Keith Hamshere/Getty Images

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Feirstein wrote “The truth is that my original title was Tomorrow Never Lies, which appeared in the script as the ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’–type slogan of Tomorrow, the flagship of an international newspaper chain owned by the evil media baron who was bent on (start macro here) Global Worldwide Domination.”

Feirstein credited the Beatles for inspiring his original title. Specifically, he was inspired when he heard the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” on the radio. However, the film’s title became Tomorrow Never Dies by accident.

“Tomorrow Never Knows” by the Beatles

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How the title became ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’

Feirstein revealed “Anyway, as we went into production, the producers and the director (Roger Spottiswoode) couldn’t decide between Lies and Dies. After much debate, they finally picked Tomorrow Never Lies. They called in an assistant, dictated a fax, and she sent it off to MGM … with a single, one-letter typo—Dies instead of Lies. The rest is celluloid history.”

No one should judge a book by its cover or a film by its title. Regardless, people do anyway. It’s difficult to tell if the title of Tomorrow Never Dies helped the film succeed in any way. However, the box office numbers don’t lie.

Radio Times reports Tomorrow Never Dies cost $110 million to make. It earned $330 million. That’s a very good return on an investment. In addition, The A.V. Club says the movie opened the same day as Titanic and the fact that it held its own against that juggernaut is impressive. Even if the title Tomorrow Never Dies didn’t help the film, it certainly didn’t impede its success.

Also see: James Bond: Why This Actor Played 007 Once and Never Again