The New York Times has revealed that– five studios in Hollywood are currently competing for the distribution rights for future installments of the Bond franchise — including Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Sony’s four-picture contract to distribute the Bond series was up with Spectre in 2015 after nine years beginning with the Daniel Craig iteration of 007 in Casino Royale. Since then, the franchise has been in limbo as Eon Productions, the family owned company founded by Bond producer Albert R. “Cubby” Broccoli and Henry Saltzman in 1961 which licenses the rights to distribute the films opted not to immediately renew their contract with Sony.
According to five anonymous sources, Sony put on a bit of a show for Eon Productions and MGM on Tuesday as the studio gave an hour-long presentation with Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony Corporation pitching the studios ideas for expanding the franchises’ reach while reminding the rights holders of the studio’s deep knowledge of the Bond franchise. The presentation itself took place on a soundstage which featured a recreated set from Dr. No, the first James Bond film ever produced.
The decade the studio distributed the films saw global ticket sales reach new heights. The films including Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre managed to take a total of $3.5 billion at the worldwide box office.
The other studios reportedly in the mix for the rights are Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Annapurna Pictures.
As the Times points out, the distribution rights for Bond would make the biggest difference for Annapurna, the Los Angeles based motion picture company founded by Megan Ellison, the daughter of the Oracle Corporation’s chairman Larry Ellison.
But what might come as a surprise is that the deal Eon and MGM are offering isn’t as lucrative as you might think. The previous contract with Sony had the studio footing half the bill for production while only receiving 25% of the profits. The studio also had to spend tens of millions of dollars in marketing while also giving MGM a piece of the profit from non-Bond films.
Although the deal isn’t as attractive as it could be, distributing a tentpole blockbuster such as a Bond film in today’s Hollywood landscape would go a long way for both Universal and Fox who could add another franchise that is guaranteed to be successful to their roster but the deal would be especially beneficial for Annapurna who primarily produces smaller pictures which are continuing to be dominated at the box office by big-budget blockbusters and comic book films.
You can expect things to heat up between the studios as EON Productions and MGM will most certainly be looking to close a distribution deal soon. Daniel Craig was recently reported to being close to committing to suit back up as 007 once again. Bond veteran screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have written the script for the next installment of the series and EON was also rumored back in February to be in advanced negotiations to shoot the next film in Croatia.
Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for the latest news on the Bond franchise as we learn it.
Source: NY Times