The James Bond franchise might have a new home and distributor shortly if a current report is accurate.
MGM, which had gone bankrupt back in 2010 is now looking for a new home. A recent report from CNBC lays out that MGM has had early talks with a bunch of companies which include Apple and Netflix to feel-out a potential acquisition.
They also suggest the sale of MGM could be in the range of $10 billion.
MGM has held preliminary talks with a number of companies, including Apple and Netflix, to gauge their interest in an acquisition, two of the people said. MGM owns the James Bond catalog and its studio has made several current hit shows including “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which streams on Hulu, and “Live PD,” a reality police show that has frequently been the most watched show on cable TV and airs on A&E. It also owns premium cable network Epix.
MGM had revenue of more than $1 billion for the first nine months of the year consisting primarily of about $600 million in TV and film licensing revenue and $300 million from Epix subscriptions. For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, MGM reported adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $123 million.
Picking up MGM would be a streaming service’s dream as they have a massive content library of film and television.
What is interesting is that MGM is a co-owner (alongside EON) of one of the biggest film franchises of all-time with Bond along with the 24 (soon to be 25) film catalog.
Here is how it’s broken down officially via EON.
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli own EON Productions Limited which is the UK based production company that makes the James Bond films. They succeeded Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and have produced some of the most successful Bond films ever including SKYFALL and SPECTRE. EON Productions Limited and Danjaq LLC are wholly owned and controlled by the Wilson/Broccoli family. Danjaq is the US based company that co-owns, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, the copyright to the existing James Bond films and controls the right to produce future James Bond films. EON Productions, an affiliate of Danjaq, is the UK based production company that makes the James Bond films and together with Danjaq controls all worldwide merchandising. The 007 franchise has produced twenty-four films since 1962.
In theory, if the copyright/co-ownership isn’t void after the sale of MGM (unlikely since it wasn’t when the company was previously sold) this means whoever ended up buying MGM would get access to the existing Bond franchise including future films.
This could also mean that there might be a new distributor for future films and possibly a new streaming home for the 24 previously released Bond movies.
I’m deeply curious who those unnamed companies were.
Disney’s Bob Iger had recently downplayed interest in buying anything new but mentioned being a big Bond fan during an interview with Time.
IGER: “We’re not looking to buy anything right now. But I’ve always been a huge James Bond fan.”
The company is still reeling from $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox and is still incurring overhead/start-up costs concerning the recent launch of their own streaming service Disney+.
I don’t see them throwing around $10 billion at this moment in time, but anything is possible.
A company like Amazon with deep pockets could be also interested given their appetite to acquire expensive IP, recently spending a boat-load of cash to first get the rights to The Lord of The Rings and then spending even more on their show’s production budgets as the first season said to be a massive 20-episodes.
There had been some previous rumbling from trade folk that people were expecting a studio like Sony Pictures to be next on the market (Sony to Apple was one big theory making the rounds), however, that doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
It’ll be interesting to see if this move leads to acquisition.
Other franchises MGM is involved in include RoboCop (about to get a new sequel), The Pink Panther, The Dragon Tattoo films, and Rocky.
Concerning new films, Daniel Craig is said to be finished with the James Bond role after this upcoming movie and there have been reports that screenwriter Phoebe Waller-Bridge (No Time To Die, Fleabag) is already in talks with EON to write Bond 26.
A new Bond has yet to be announced but there has been plenty of tabloid speculation over the last couple of years about shortlists and rumored top-contenders.
MGM and EON’s 25th installment in the Bond franchise titled No Time To Die is set to be released on April 8th.
In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. That mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.