Since 2006’s Casino Royale, the James Bond films have been distributed by studios MGM and Sony’s Columbia Pictures. With Sony’s deal expiring after 2015’s underwhelming and slapdash entry Spectre, various suitors are hoping to fill that role with MGM—including of all companies, Apple and Amazon.
reports that Apple and Amazon join Warner Bros., Fox, Universal and Sony (hoping for a second bout) in the competitive race. Amazon is the less surprising of the pair, with Amazon Studios already dipping its toes into the industry, most notably with Best Picture nominee Manchester by the Sea. Film distribution, however, would be a new foray for Apple Inc. The move could be, dare we say, courageous.
The frontmen for Apple’s pitch include Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who previously served as co-presidents for Sony Pictures Television before leaving for Apple in June. The pair’s presence at Apple alone is an indicator that the leading tech company’s intentions to go into film and television are serious. If these two end up stealing 007 away from Sony, remember to add that to your upcoming YouTube video of “Top Ten Industry Betrayals.”
Not mentioned by THR and its sources is Disney, who likely already have their hands full with Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. However, it is mentioned that whichever studio emerges as the victor will likely want to exploit the Bond brand the same way Disney does with their subdivisions—cross-media opportunities, franchises within franchises and most importantly, merchandising, merchandising! And you already know these companies are loaded, with the Bond franchise estimated to be valued between $2 to $5 billion.
Hopefully, regardless of which company distributes these films, they’ll be wise to avoid fridging the female lead, as a possible plot leak for Bond 25 revealed. Expect the 25th Bond film (and start of the potential Bond Cinematic Universe) starring Daniel Craig to arrive in theaters Nov. 8, 2019.