Just recently, Daniel Craig finally gave into the devil and decided to return as James Bond in the next 007 adventure. Interestingly enough, writers are busy trying to crack the script. But the franchise doesn't have a proper home. And those in Hollywood are looking at it as one of the last great untapped titles. Even though Bond is as classic as they come in terms of movie series, with the 25th Bond movie on the way, this title could be a real game changer. Apple and Amazon understand this, and are furiously trying to get their feet in the door.
Warner Bros. is currently in the lead to win the James Bond rights from Sony Pictures, who definitely don't want to lose their golden goose after flopping out with the Ghostbusters cinematic universe and a few other failed attempts to get a big blockbuster tentpole series off the ground. Bond is considered a 'mega-franchise'. Sony's deal ended with 2015's disappointing Spectre. But while other big studios are in the mix to snatch Bond away before the release of James Bond 25, some unlikely candidates have thrown their proverbial hats into the ring.
Both Apple and Amazon are in hot pursuit to turn 007 into the first great streaming franchise. Both have the money to spare, and are willing to match Warner Bros. on their offer, dollar for dollar. And they could go even higher in their bids. MGM has been trying to secure a buyer for the past two years, and is one of the reasons it's taken Daniel Craig so long to commit, though the press has loudly declared other reasons, such as Craig saying he'd rather slash his wrists than make another sequel.
Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures have been the two most aggressive studios when it comes to getting and/or keeping the Bond rights. But Apple has money to spare, and is far from being in any kind of debt, unlike Netflix. Warner Bros. knows how much Apple wants the title, so according to The Hollywood Reporter, Warners is pressing MGM hard to close a deal.
Amazon is out to prove to MGM that Bond is one of the last great untapped resources and needs to be a streaming franchise. And it could be a game changing launch in the content universe. With both Apple and Amazon hungry for the title, they have set out to prove to MGM that there's more than just film rights on the table here. Which could mean they are considering a James Bond TV show.
Apple executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht are spearheading their team's campaign to win 007. They want to acquire a larger rights deal so they can capitalize on Bond's small screen and big screen potential. An insider close to the bidding process had this to say.
"In the world of Lucasfilm and Marvel, Bond feels really underdeveloped."
It's expected that some Chinese companies may also show up at the last minute waving even more cash at MGM than what the competitors currently have on the table. The entire stable is expected to go for billions of dollars. James Bond is currently one of the most recognized brands in the world, and this could lead to other countries making their own Bond movies. A Chinese 007 isn't out of the question at the moment.
Eon producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are being called traditionalists when it comes to the Bond brand, and perhaps don't want to over extend their welcome or wear out 007's presence with a weekly TV show. They are primarily concerned with getting one good movie in theaters every couple of years. The next outing is already slated for release on November 8, 2019 despite whoever ends up with the rights.
As of now, James Bond 25 doesn't have a director. But Yann Demange is a frontrunner for the job. As is Denis Villeneuve, the guy behind this fall's sequel Blade Runner 2049. Spectre was the last of a two-picture deal Sony struck with MGM and Eon back in 2011. At that time, Paramount Pictures almost walked away with the franchise. But they balked at MGM's demands. Sony won out in the end, with a deal that allowed MGM to co-finance The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo American remake and the Total Recall remake. That maybe wasn't the best deal for MGM.
Even if Apple and Amazon walk away empty handed, they're still pursuing the movie game, trying to compete with Netflix. But it's also conceivable that Warner Bros. could team up with one of the two streaming giants, with Warners getting the movie theater distribution rights as Amazon or Apple pursue a TV show.