Sony lines up massive product placement for Bond 23. Is $45 million a step too far?

A deal struck between MGM and Sony will see a third of the budget for Bond 23 to come from product placement deals, some $45 million according to The Australian.

Of course, the James Bond films are no stranger to such deals, which in the past have included BMW, Brioni and Omega and a deal with Ford in the most recent films saw 007 back in an Aston Martin.

Sony is currently establishing brand ambassadors with the job of liaising with potential sponsors, including Chinese technology entrepreneurs.

However, product placement on such as scale is unprecedented, more than double the previous record of $20 million for Minority Report (2002) and begs the question of whether Bond 23 will take it too far.

Whichever companies eventually sponsor Bond 23, their products likely to be snapped up. Many Bond collectors are completely obsessive and will go to extraordinary lengths to add new items to their collections.

For instance, when it became apparent that the shirt worn by Daniel Craig during the Madagascar scenes in Casino Royale had been specially commissioned for the film, a group of collectors identified the manufacturer and cloth used and commissioned an identical shirt.

The cost? Several hundred dollars apiece.

So, how far are the studios willing to sacrifice artistic integrity to afford the colossal budget? In Casino Royale we saw Sony products prominently featured throughout; however, the worst excess is probably on the train to Montenegro when Bond tells Vesper that his watch is an Omega, surely some of the clunkiest dialogue ever committed to celluloid.

And maybe they should be thinking how to cut the budget instead, as the film makers would then be forced to the kind of imagination that is often lacking in big budget movies.

While Casino Royale got away with it, Quantum of Solace was sorely lacking in many areas and few Bond fans would wish a return to that style of film.


David Leigh founded The James Bond Dossier in 2002. A fan of 007 since the age of 8, he is also author of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond. You can order a copy here if you don't own it already.

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