5 major studios battle for Bond… James Bond

Ryan Leston
UK Movies Writer
Daniel Craig stars as Bond - Credit: MGM/Eon

It looks as though 007 has gone rogue.

At least, when it comes to the upcoming Bond 25.

It’s no secret that Sony’s long-standing Bond distribution deal came to an end with ‘Spectre’. Now, it looks as though five global superpowers of the entertainment business are fighting to capture the iconic British superspy.

And no – this isn’t the plot of the next Bond movie.

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The Bond franchise is controlled by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions… and while they keep their hands firmly on the controls, they don’t actually distribute their own movies.

Now, with Sony’s deal finishing back in 2015, it’s up to the studios to impress.

According to the New York Times, five major players are tussling over the distribution rights to the Bond film franchise – Sony, Warner Bros, Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Annapurna Pictures.

And it sounds like they’re pulling out all the stops.

Daniel Craig stars as Bond… James Bond – Credit: MGM/Eon

“On Tuesday, for instance, leaders at Sony spent an hour making their case,” explain the New York Times. “Kazuo Hirai, the chief executive, helped give the pitch, which emphasized the studio’s deep knowledge of Bond and its ideas for expanding the franchise’s reach…”

Amazingly, Sony decided to give its presentation from a soundstage which was mocked up to look like the set of Dr. No – the 1963 Bond classic which originally launched the film franchise.

A lot of effort… so surely it’s got to be worth it?

“MGM and Eon, which stands for Everything or Nothing, are only offering a one-film contract,” they revealed. “The expired Sony deal was for four movies.”

A one film contract? Not exactly a huge, franchise-spanning deal, then.

But wait – this slightly-rubbish deal gets worse…

“Under its previous agreement, Sony paid fifty percent of the production costs for ‘Spectre’ – which totalled some $250 million after accounting for government incentives – but only received 25 percent of certain profits, once costs were recouped.”

It turns out that Sony also put up tens of millions of dollars to market the movie, and they even had to fork over profits from non-Bond films to MGM – including ’22 Jump Street’. That’s quite some deal.

Daniel Craig stars as Bond… James Bond – Credit: MGM/Eon

Not exactly a hugely lucrative business, then… and it gets even worse.

“[Barbara] Broccoli and her older half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, have final say over every line of dialogue, casting decision, stunt sequence, marketing tie-in, TV ad, poster and billboard.”

So why do the studios even want this deal?

Well, not all of them do. Notably, Paramount and Walt Disney Studios won’t be competing for the Bond franchise… and with a lack of creative control, it’s easy to see why they might be a bit sceptical.

Still, there’s five major studios in the running… so there has to be a good reason.

Right?

Well, according to the New York Times, it’s mostly bragging rights. The Bond franchise has been a cinematic staple since the ‘60s, and let’s be honest – it’s a guaranteed blockbuster hit, even if it doesn’t make the studios a huge amount of money.

Who will win the rights?

For now, we have to wait and see.

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