The winner for Skyfall product placement

Daniel Craig's 007 has a Macallan

Daniel Craig’s 007 has a Macallan


BRAND CHANNEL, a Web site devoted to marketing, has determined the winner of companies who struck product placement deals in Skyfall. Who finished atop the heap? None other than Macallan Scotch Whisky.

Here’s an excerpt:

But no brand got more exposure than The Macallan whisky, which appeared in several scenes and was even called out by name as one of Bond’s particular favorites. All the better, the placement didn’t cost Macallan a (Money)penny. “When the final edit of the Skyfall came out our Macallan director was a little nervous about the drink being associated with the scene where Daniel Craig takes a dram then fires a gun—as obviously being an alcoholic beverage it is important for us not to be associated with violence, crime, and underage drinking,” Lucy McQueen, the public affairs assistant for Macallan-owner Edrington Group, told brandchannel.

(snip)

Front Row Analytics, the analysis division of Front Row Marketing Services, estimates the value of Macallan’s appearance in Skyfall at $8.98 million. And that’s just the theatrical value through January 2013. Front Row, which uses proprietary analytics to put a dollar value on eyeballs and other subjective criteria, further projects value of $473,647 (DVD / Digital) and $256,667 (future broadcast airings) for Macallan. But there’s more.

“The brand value that Macallan has and will receive over the lifetime of the film, is unlike other product placements,” said Eric Smallwood, Senior Vice President of Front Row Marketing Services & Front Row Analytics.

The article notes the “50-year” Macallan in the film was a 1962 vintage, meaning it was a 25-year-old bottle of Scotch. Getting some of the latter costs about $2,600. An actual 50-year-old bottle would cost $7,800. Either is a big step up from Heineken, the main beer sponsor of Skyfall.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE. The story also evaluates product placement of other 2012 movies, including Argo and Ted.

The Web site

A (very belated) Skyfall review

Skyfall's poster image

Skyfall’s poster image

Back in November, HMSS intended to put out a “best of” issue that included reviews for Skyfall. For real-life reasons, that didn’t occur. This is one of the reviews intended for that never-produced issue, written shortly after release. After the review, there’s an epilogue.

One of the most satisfying moments of Skyfall makes no sense from a logical standpoint.

Daniel Craig’s James Bond whisks Judi Dench’s M from an assassination attempt by Silva (Javier Bardem), the film’s villain. Bond takes his superior to some sort of storage facility where an Aston Martin DB5 awaits.

That moment gets a big rise from theater audiences (at least the three times I saw it). But is this the same car that Craig-Bond won in a poker game in Casino Royale? Was it subsequently outfitted with the exact same gadgets (at least the machine guns and ejector seat) the car had in Goldfinger?

Ehhh, forgettaboutit. At least, if you do, Skyfall is a fun ride.

The 23rd James Bond movie comes four years after Quantum of Solace, its predecessor. During Quantum’s production, Eon Productions was *way too serious* about why that movie was important. We were told that 2006′s Casino Royale had such a compelling story the filmmakers had no choice except to begin the next 007 movie immediately thereafter. Thus, Quantum began two minutes or two hours (Eon wasn’t consistent on this point) from the end of Casino. Thus, Eon, in effect, asked the audience to compare Quantum to its predecessor. Except that M had totally redecorated her office and Mathis had gone from being interrogated in two minutes/two hours to again being Bond’s ally. Oops.

Skyfall and its director Sam Mendes don’t invite any comparisons to earlier Daniel Craig 007 movies. Bond was a rookie and now he’s older and seemingly washed up? Forgetaboutit. Don’t worry about the past and take Skyfall on its own terms. On that basis, the new Bond movie is satisfying.

Skyfall isn’t perfect. Bond recruits Severine (Berenice Marlohe) to help him meet Silva. To say he lets her down is an understatement. These things happen but it would have helped to have one shot — just ONE SHOT — of Craig-Bond showing some remorse after Severine ends up dead. You know, like Sean Connery’s Bond with Tilly in Goldfinger or his Bond with Paula in Thunderball. Instead, he displays no reaction but has a chest-thumping, moment of gloating when U.K. holicopters show up over Silva’s headquarters. Meanwhile, Severine’s corpse is slumped over while Bond gloats.

The movie has some first-time 007 contributors. Roger Deakins’s photography is a big plus. The director of photography produces a number of striking images (particularly in the Shanghai sequence) but his best work highlights every wrinkle on the face of Dench’s aging M, making clear that the character has seen too much, done too much and is quite tired and exhausted.

Thomas Newman, not know for doing scores to action movies, moves things along. Newman occasionally evokes both John Barry and the Batman triology directed by Christopher Nolan, which featured music by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. Newman, though, is a pro and his score reflects that. Once again, the Bond filmmakers felt they couldn’t put the famous 007 gunbarrel logo at the start of the movie. Newman, though, pulls a musical trick that reminds us of the sequence. There was no good reason not to include the logo at the start of the movie but Newman does enough that the lack of the logo isn’t as bad as it could have been.

Bardem as Skyfall’s villain is mostly a plus but, near the end, goes the proverbial Bridge Too Far. In the climatic sequence, where he has his final confrontation with M, it’s as if Bardem wants to tell the audience, “Look! I’m acting!” We get it that Silva is on the edge. But Bardem just goes too far. He’s like Paul Newman in 1974′s The Towering Inferno where the actor wants to assure his fans he’s not just cashing a big paycheck. In the climatic scene, Bardem should have dialed it back a bit.

The end of the movie, with a new M (Ralph Fiennes) and a new Moneypenny sets up the series to continue while evoking the earlier Bond films. We’ll see what the future has in store but Skyfall works well enough. GRADE: B-Plus.

Anything change after watching it on home video? Not that much. A friend who doesn’t like the movie commented how, in the old Bond movies, the titles would have started almost immediately after Bond hit the water near the end of the pre-titles sequence. Instead, we get a couple of minutes of a morose M, Tanner and other MI6 employees. That’s still not enough and we’re taken to an MI6 window and see it has started raining.

“Cue the rain?” the friend said. “Cue the rain?” He had a point but I could overlook it. But, as posted here before, there are other things that are best to overlook to enjoy the movie. If don’t want to overlook such issues, like the Aston Martin DB5, you’re going to rate it lower, in some cases much lower.

Also, there’s no way the DB5 in Skyfall could have been the same car as in Casino Royale. The steering wheel was on the other side and you’d have to rebuild the car to switch the steering wheel from the left side to the right. The Skyfall DB5 is a tribute to Goldfinger, pure and simple.

UPDATE: Called as Aston Martin dealer. At least on a newer model, it’s possible to switch a steering wheel from the right to the left and vice versa. It would cost in excess of $40,000. Didn’t ask if that was specifically possible on a 1964 DB5.

Roger Ebert’s last 007 film review

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic, died on April 4 at the age of 70. Many publications and Web sites published obituaries about his life and his commentaries about movies.

His final review for a 007 film was, naturally, 2012′s Skyfall. You can read the entire piece BY CLICKING HERE. Here’s an excerpt:

In this 50th year of the James Bond series, with the disappointing “Quantum of Solace” (2008) still in our minds, “Skyfall” triumphantly reinvents 007 in one of the best Bonds ever made. This is a full-blooded, joyous, intelligent celebration of a beloved cultural icon, with Daniel Craig taking full possession of a role he earlier played well in “Casino Royale,” not so well in “Quantum”–although it may not have been entirely his fault. I don’t know what I expected in Bond #23, but certainly not an experience this invigorating.

(snip)

M is not quite ready to retire, and “Skyfall” at last provides a role worthy of Judi Dench, one of the best actors of her generation. She is all but the co-star of the film, with a lot of screen time, poignant dialogue, and a character who is far more complex and sympathetic than we expect in this series.

(snip again)

During the early Bonds, did we ever ask ourselves about 007′s origins in life? The movie even produces a moment designed to inspire love in lifetime Bond fans: A reappearance of the Aston Martin DB5 from “Goldfinger,” which remains in good operating condition, if you can guess what I mean.

Ebert had been the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967 and a lover of movies long before that. For years, he and his rival critic, the Chicago Tribune’s Gene Siskel, had hosted television shows devoted to movies.

Here’s the opening the Siskel-Ebert At the Movies programs in 1983, 30 years ago, devoted to 007:

Siskel died in 1999 and Ebert penned A TRIBUTE to his long-running adversary in 2009. They may not have been exactly friends but nor were they enemies. Their “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” verdicts on films were the dreams of the marketing departments of film studios. You can read the Sun-Times’s obituary of its long-time film critic by CLICKING HERE.

The balcony is now closed. It’s two thumbs down because we’re not likely to see the likes of either critic again.

Two 007 fan magazine offers

Skyfall's poster image

Skyfall’s poster image

Two competing 007 fan magazines have new offers.

MI6 Confidential has a new issue, No. 20, out. It features a cover with a Daniel Craig image and features include a look at 007 title designer Daniel Kleinman (responsible for every Bond main titles since 1995 with the exception of 2008′s Quantum of Solace); some artwork developed for the ad campaign for A View To a Kill; a look at Skyfall special effects; and a story about the Everything Or Nothing documentary.

The publication’s price is 7 British pounds, $11 or 8.50 euros. For more information about ordering, CLICK HERE.

Meanwhile, Graham Rye’s 007 Magazine and 007 Magazine Archive Files are offering back issues at half price, 4.99 British pounds, for a limited time. That includes an issue devoted to Skyfall. For more details and information on ordering, CLICK HERE.

Cinefex magazine looks at Skyfall

Skyfall's poster image

Skyfall’s poster image


Cinefex, a quarterly magazine that looks at special effects in movies, has an article about Skyfall IN ITS APRIL 2013 ISSUE.

Some details from an excerpt from the story:

“Sam Mendes agreed that there should be a big, jaw-dropping moment during a chase in the London Underground,” said special effects supervisor Chris Corbould. “I came up with the idea for the Tube train crash, which Sam liked a lot, but then I started to realize the enormity of what I’d dreamt up. A real Tube train carriage is 60 feet long and weighs in excess of 25 tons. We decided to make our own carriages, and brainstormed a way to make them crash.”

Corbould’s senior special effects technician, Dan Homewood, and special effects designer Jason Leinster oversaw construction of two full-scale carriages on an overhead monorail rig. “We fitted a track in the ceiling that ran two-thirds of the whole length of the 007 Stage. That gave us room to get the train up to speed, then have it dip down into the set, like a rollercoaster ride. We hung the train on steel linking arms, and connected it via cables to a tractor unit that towed the train into the set at about 30 miles per hour.”

For more information, you can go to the PUBLICATION’S WEB SITE and go to the back issues section. The Skyfall article is No. 133 (you can also use the link at the top of this post). Cinefex also had articles about Casino Royale in issue 108 and Quantum of Solace in issue 116. Ordering costs $12.50 and orders outside the U.S. require an addition $7.50 shipping.

Why we guess Bond 24 won’t be out until at least 2015

Daniel Craig in Skyfall

Daniel Craig in Skyfall

This week, Gary Barber, the CEO of MGM Holdings Inc., the parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, said the company is “hoping within the next three years” that Bond 24 will be released.

That’s a much different tune that late 2010 when MGM, in bankruptcy court, said it planned TO GET THE BOND FILM SERIES BACK ON AN EVERY-OTHER-YEAR SCHEDULE. It was even different from November when Barber told investors that MGM was “hopeful” that Bond 24 could come out in 2014. “If not in ’14, certainly in ’15,” he said at that time.

With these week’s comments by Barber, entertainment Web sites such as WHATCULTURE! and FLICK DAILY are taking the MGM CEO literally and saying Bond 24 won’t be out until 2016. That’s probably extreme, but Barber and MGM clearly are backing off the idea of Bond 24 coming out in 2014.

Here are our guesses why:

Eon Productions (which actually makes the 007 films) doesn’t seem keen on a 2014 timetable: Last year, an executive of Sony Pictures (which co-financed Skyfall with MGM and co-financed the movie) said Bond 24 would make a 2014 release date. Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall star Daniel Craig slapped that idea down in an interview with COLLIDER.COM.

(QUESTION:) Last week Rory, the president of distribution of Sony, announced Bond 24 for I guess late 2014…

Broccoli: He was getting a little overexcited (laughs). We’re just actually focusing on this movie. One hopes that in the future we’ll be announcing other films, but no one’s officially announced it (emphasis added)

Craig: No one’s announced anything. He got a little ahead of himself (laughs).

(emphasis added)

Actually, somebody had announced something — an executive of Sony Pictures, an Eon Productions business partner who was acting in his official capacity, had announced that Bond 24 was coming out in another two years. In effect, Broccoli and Craig were saying, “Move along, nothing to see here.”

In an interview with the LOS ANGELES TIMES, Barbara Broccoli had this comment about studios:

“Sometimes there are external pressures from a studio who want you to make it in a certain time frame or for their own benefit, and sometimes we’ve given into that,” Broccoli said. “But following what we hope will be a tremendous success with ‘Skyfall,’ we have to try to keep the deadlines within our own time limits and not cave in to external pressures.”

In the case of MGM, it co-owns the 007 franchise with Eon. But, based on these comments, it would seem as if Broccoli doesn’t view MGM exactly as a partner. At the very least, it doesn’t sound like Broccoli wants to hurry the process along. Meanwhile, Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Broccoli’s half brother and the other-co boss of Eon, had this to say in an interview with the DEN OF GEEK! Web site:

Have any preparations been made for Bond 24 yet?

Broccoli: No, no.

How long a space do you think you’ll need?

Wilson: If we’re rapid it’ll be two years, if we’re not it’ll be three. (emphasis added)

It’s not as critical for MGM to get Bond 24 out by 2014: When MGM made that filing in bankruptcy court it was, well, bankrupt. This week, it reported considerably improved financial results for 2012, much of it from Skyfall and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

The Hobbit has release dates for sequels in 2013 and 2014. Presumably, MGM will want Bond 24 sooner than later, but a 2014 release date isn’t a matter of life and death for the studio. Meanwhile, Bond remains an important asset for MGM and CEO Barber talked on this week’s investor call how the company was working with its “partners” (his words) at Eon. If Eon isn’t that keen for a 2014 release, Barber has less reason to force the issue at this point.

To quote M from the film You Only Live Twice, “Mind you, all of this is pure guess work.” But our guess is that a 2015 release for Bond 24 is more likely than a 2014 one.

MGM watch: Studio CEO is cagey about Bond 24 release date

MGM logo

The top executive of MGM Holdings Inc., parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, was cagey about a release date for Bond 24 during an investor call on March 19.

“The timetable is not set yet,” Chief Executive Officer Gary Barber said in response to a question. “We’re hoping within the next three years it will be released.”

When MGM was in bankruptcy court in 2010, part of its business plan was to get the 007 movies back on an every-other-year schedule, with Bond 24 coming out in 2014. Barber said nothing about a 2014 release date during the March 19 call.

Referring to Bond 24, Barber also said, “We’re currently developing the screenplay and we’re working with our partners at Danjaq. We look forward to developing the script soon and signing a director in the near future.” Danjaq LLC is responsible for copyrights and trademarks of the 007 films which are produced by Eon Productions, run by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

Barber was also asked why Sam Mendes, the director of Skyfall, wasn’t returning for a 007 encore.

“He did an amazing job on Skyfall. We’re very thankful for the work he did. He decided to pursue other interests at this time. We look forward to announcing a director soon. We’re very thrilled about where we’re taking the franchise.”

A replay of the investor call is on the INVESTORS RELATIONS SECTION OF MGM’S WEB SITE. Barber’s comments about Bond 24 came during the question-and-answer session, which begins about half-way through the call. Barber, on a November investor call, confirmed that John Logan was writing the scripts for Bond 24 and Bond 25.

MGM owns half the 007 franchise with Danjaq/Eon. MGM co-financed Skyfall with Sony Pictures, which actually released the movie. MGM and Sony will repeat the arrangement on Bond 24.

John Logan: writing a 007 film like working at MI6

Bond 24 writer John Logan

Bond 24 writer John Logan

John Logan, Skyfall co-writer and scribe for Bond 24 and Bond 25, has again provided a few tidbits about Bond 24, and working on the 007 films in general.

The first time was IN A FINANCIAL TIMES FEATURE STORY about a new play of his, Peter and Alice. The BBC on its Web site HAS ALSO DONE A STORY ABOUT THE PLAY.

Once again, Logan has provided a few bits of information — nothing that revealing (thus, no need to worry about spoilers), but interesting.

Here’s an excerpt:

Unsurprisingly, he is thrilled by the critical and box office success of Skyfall. “I’m really proud of the movie. I love Skyfall and I love Bond and that’s why I’m doing the next two. I’ve done a lot of big movies but I’ve never done one where everyone cared so much.”

And he deflects enquiries about the progress of Bonds 24 and 25 with practised ease.

“It’s coming together very well, I’m very pleased with where it is. [Producer] Barbara Broccoli once said when you work on a Bond movie it’s like you belong to MI6.”

Those comments aren’t terribly surprising. But Logan told the BBC that there are security measures involved, including use of a paper shredder.

“I thought she was joking but I quickly realised when I had to shred drafts that it really is.”

It might not be an exaggeration. We’ve heard from at least one Bond collector who searches out drafts of 007 scripts that you can’t find one for 2008′s Quantum of Solace, much less 2012′s Skyfall. (For a 2011 HMSS article about drafts of scripts from earlier movies, including 2006′s Casino Royale, CLICK HERE.)

You can read the entire BBC BY CLICKING HERE. If you missed the earlier Financial Times story, you can read it BY CLICKING HERE.

MGM watch: Skyfall helps make studio profitable

Skyfall's poster image

Skyfall’s poster image

MGM Holdings Inc., parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, said it turned a profit for 2012, much of it on the strength of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

MGM’s profit totaled $129 million for the year on revenue of $1.38 billion. the company said in had an adjusted profit (i.e. what the profit would have been if it didn’t have to pay taxes, interest and other costs) of $286 million, according to a company statement. That measure, known as EBITDA (or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), is used by some investors as a way to gauge a company’s financial performance.

MGM said it was the first studio to have back-to-back films with $1 billion or more in ticket sales each. The company had a $40.2 million profit for the year’s fourth quarter (a period that included the releases of Skyfall and The Hobbit), and $147.7 million EBITDA. That compares with an $11 million loss (and $19.4 million EBITDA profit) for 2011′s fourth quarter.

Fourth-quarter revenue totaled $902.6 million. or 65 percent of the revenue MGM had for the entire year.

MGM co-financed both of its hit movies, Skyfall with Sony Pictures and The Hobbit with Time Warner’s Warner Bros. Skyfall also involved splitting the take with Eon Productions, which produces the 007 films.

MGM went through bankruptcy in 2010, which resulted in the current executive team led by CEO Gary Barber being installed.

Two thoughts about Bond 24

Not directing Bond 24

Not directing Bond 24

At this point, we know more about what’s not happening with Bond 24 than what will.

It won’t be directed by Sam Mendes (because he took his name out of the running), Christopher Nolan (who had a conflicting engagement directing a science fiction movie due out in November 2014) or Danny Boyle (because, according to TYHER PLAYLIST WEB SITE he told an audience he’s not interested in that type of movie).

But there have been some items published recently that spur a couple of thoughts:

Sam Mendes declining to have a go at Bond 24 might not be that bad a thing. Many fans are disappointed that the director of Skyfall won’t be back for Bond 24. So is the co-boss of Eon Proudctions, Barbara Broccoli, who in stories SUCH AS THIS ONE described herself as devastated by Mendes’s decision.

Still, stop and think about it. Directing Bond 24 will involve six or seven months of production and months of preparation and pre-production work and additional time in post-production. If somebody doesn’t want to do something, or simply isn’t sure, they probably shouldn’t take on such a huge task until they’re ready.

Had Mendes, after a couple of months off from the Skyfall post-production grind, decided he really, really wanted to do Bond 24, that’d be one thing. But based on the director’s comments, he doesn’t seem to be at that point. With a huge endeavor such as Bond 24 is likely to be, it’s perhaps best to let somebody who’s more geared up to try.

Maybe John Logan should get a chance to write more before a director is chosen. Nobody really knows, except a precious few people at Eon, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures, how far along the co-scripter of Skyfall is in crafting a Bond 24 story.

Some directors like to see a developed story before committing to a major project. For example, Roger Michell was approached about directing what would become 2008′s Quantum of Solace. There were various stories (such as THIS ONE ON THE MI6 007 FAN WEB SITE) where Michell was quoted as saying the script was developed enough for him to take the job.

Whatever the status of Logan’s work on Bond 24′s story, perhaps Logan should have sufficient time before worrying too much about who will direct the next 007 film.

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