5 Studios Compete for the Next James Bond Movie's Rights

Posted 2017/04/20 843 0

Five Hollywood studios are currently engaged in a bidding war for the rights to the James Bond film franchise.

 

According to The New York Times, Sony, Warner Bros., Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Annapurna Pictures are all said to be in the running (Paramount and Disney are sitting this one out). Of the five in contention, Megan Ellison’s Annapurna is arguably the most surprising, since their speciality so far has been prestige pictures. Annapurna’s interest is a sign the studio is looking to diversify their output and get involved in big-budget tentpoles.

While no specific details were given regarding the deal, this report claims that it will pay the studios, "surprisingly little," with MGM and Eon only offering a one-movie deal at this time. Sony's deal covered four movies, 2006's Casino Royale ($599 million worldwide), 2008's Quantum of Solace ($586 million worldwide), Skyfall ($1.1 billion worldwide) and Spectre ($880.6 million worldwide). MGM is owned by private equity firms like Anchorage Capital Partners, and the studio reportedly wants to keep its options open as they consider either selling the studio, or going public. While casting hasn't been discussed at these meetings, the hope is that Daniel Craig will return as 007 for at least one more movie.

One of the most interesting notes is that the James Bond franchise isn’t even especially lucrative for the distributor. Here’s an example:

Under its previous agreement, Sony paid 50 percent of the production costs for Spectre, which totaled some $250 million after accounting for government incentives, but only received 25 percent of certain profits, once costs were recouped. Sony also shouldered tens of millions of dollars in marketing and had to give MGM a piece of the profit from non-Bond films Sony had in its own pipeline, including 22 Jump Street.

A change in distributorship could mark a major change in the shape of Bond to come. Sony put their distinct stamp on the franchise, ushering in a tougher, more brutal Bond. Surely an Annapurna-fronted 007 would zag where the franchise has historically zigged.

According to the Times, MGM wants to keep its “options open as it considers a sale or public offering.” MGM has not yet responded to requests for comment.

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