Apple and Amazon reportedly vying against Warners for Bond 25 distribution rights

Apple and Amazon reported to be in contention for Bond 25 distribution rights according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Bond 25

The release of SPECTRE in 2015 saw the end of Sony’s distribution rights for the James Bond series. Starting with Casino Royale (2006), Sony co-financed the Bond films with MGM and acted as distributor in a two film deal that was later extended.

MGM still has no distribution capacity following its emergence from bankruptcy, an event that caused a four year gap before Skyfall (2012). It therefore needs to renew with Sony or sign a deal with a new distribution partner for Bond 25.

Recently it seemed like Warner Bros would become MGM’s chosen partner, but a report in the Hollywood Reporter suggests that deal may not now happen.

The reason is that Apple and Amazon have now emerged as contenders, suggesting the future of 007 may not lie exclusively on the big screen. Both digital media giants are reportedly prepared to match or exceed the amount Warners is prepared to pay for distribution rights. Warner Bros is pushing to close the deal as a result. According to the Hollywood Reporter:

Sources say newly arrived executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht are spearheading the effort on Apple’s behalf. Given their background (the pair served as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television and shocked the industry when they announced in June that they were leaving for Apple), this would suggest that Apple is interested in cutting a larger rights deal or acquiring full ownership to exploit Bond’s largely unmined TV potential. Valuation of the franchise may be anywhere between $2 billion and $5 billion, says an insider.

With Eon bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson reported to be considering the sale of the family business it could be that an offer from either digital platform could tip the scales in favour of selling their stake. However it is far from clear whether they are really looking at selling the franchise.

It would make sense for it to happen though. A movie business that relies on $250 million blockbusters to succeed isn’t sustainable. Too many “sure things” don’t work out quite as planned.

Worse, they completely bomb. Meanwhile, while Hollywood focuses on superhero popcorn movies, subscribers to Amazon Prime Video (me) or any other digital platform know that’s where the quality is these days.

Can you imagine faithful adaptations of all Ian Fleming’s books in the 1950s and 60s produced by Amazon?

It would be potentially fantastic. And the film series could be kept going on a separate timeline anyway, it needn’t mean the death of cinematic Bond.

Of course, none of this is confirmed. But I’ve had the feeling for a while now that the James Bond series would sooner or later make the jump to TV.

Key takeaways

  • Apple and Amazon have emerged as contenders to distribute the Bond films.
  • The value of the James Bond series could be in the region $2 billion to $5 billion.
  • 007’s future may not lie exclusively on the big screen but also on television.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

via The Spy Command

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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