Bond 25 questions: The streaming edition

No Time to Die poster

What once seemed unthinkable — a new James Bond movie debuting on a streaming service — may be a possibity. Or is it? Naturally, the blog has questions.

How did this come up anyway?

On Thursday, Drew McWeeny, who writes about film, posted a tweet that raised the possibility. He has a reputation for knowing a lot of people in the industry.

McWeeny also publishes a newsletter where he elaborated. Here is an excerpt:

In the last ten days or so, at least six people have reached out to talk to me about what they’re hearing, and it sounds like those two streamers are currently the most actively engaged in conversations with MGM and, I presume, EON and Universal to pick up No Time To Die. I have no idea if other conversations have occurred or not, but I can’t imagine they’re the only two interested parties.

McWeeny also wrote that one figure he’s heard is for more than $600 million. But he also wrote he didn’t know if that was just one film or more.

Separately, the MI6 James Bond website and Bloomberg ran stories on Friday concerning No Time to Die going to streaming first.

MI6 said it “understands that those offers started at $200m are now heading towards $250m – just for the North America streaming rights.”

Bloomberg said Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has held talks with Apple Inc. and Netflix. The news service cited “people familiar with the situation.” MGM told Bloomberg the film is not for sale. The Bloomberg story doesn’t provide a specific price.

UPDATE (Oct. 24): Variety weighed in with its own story. The entertainment outlet said MGM was looking for a deal in the $600 million range, “a price tag that was deemed too rich” for some of the streaming services. Which ones weren’t specified.

UPDATE II (Oct 24): Dealine: Hollywood (a sister site to Variety) posts a story emphasizing MGM’s denial.

A troll on Facebook (joined in July, only three followers) emphasized to me how Deadline’s Mike Fleming has a special, close relationship to Danjaq/Eon. That’s another way of saying Fleming is an extension of the Danjaq PR machine. Whatever. Personally, I prefer a knowledgeable, independent voice on these things.

What happens now?

The Bond situation is very complicated. MGM and Danjaq LLC jointly control the James Bond film rights. No Time to Die is to be distributed by United Artists Releasing (co-owned by MGM and Annapurna Pictures) in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

That’s a number of parties that may have to be dealt with for any streaming deal.

What’s driving this?

No Time to Die was to have come out in April but was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). So it was rescheduled for November. But COVID-19 hasn’t gone away and cases are rising again in the U.S. and Europe. So now, the 25th James Bond film is supposed to be out in April 2021.

What’s more, MGM is a weak studio in an industry already facing changes before COVID-19. The company is owned by hedge funds who likely are anxious to sell the studio.

A streaming deal would deliver cash now while MGM can still be prepare to sell itself later.

But what about that MGM denial to Bloomberg?

That denial may have a short shelf life. Put another way, the denial is true today. The question is how long will it be true?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: