One NTTD question we have no answer for

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Occasionally, the blog has “question edition” posts about Bond 25/No Time to Die. Usually, the blog provides some evidence of the answers. For this post, we can only guess.

Why is there an Eon Productions logo in the trailer for The Rhythm Section but not for No Time to Die?

Probably language in contracts. But your guess is as good as mine.

The Rhythm Section trailer has logos for Paramount (studio that’s releasing the movie), Global Road (major co-financing entity) and Eon (company that made the movie).

No Time to Die’s trailer has logos for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Bond’s home studio) and Universal (handling international distribution). Not mentioned is United Artists Releasing, the joint venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures.

United Artists Releasing is performing distribution duties for No Time to Die in the United States.  It is referenced in the first poster for the movie, down toward the bottom.

MGM and Annpurna formed the joint venture to perform U.S. distribution of each other’s movies. MGM movies would have the MGM logo, Annapurna films would have the Annapurna logo. The joint venture was announced in the fall of 2017. The United Artists Releasing name was announced on the 100th anniversary of the formation of United Artists in early 2019.

No Time to Die Trailer due out next week, MI6 says

No Time to Die teaser poster

The first trailer for No Time to Die may be released online as early as Dec. 4, the MI6 James Bond website said, without disclosing how it obtained the information.

The teaser trailer “has been scheduled for release online on December 4th or 5th (depending on your time zone),” the website said.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer said Nov. 21 on an investor call the bulk of the movie’s marketing effort would ramp up after Jan. 1. However, MGM didn’t specify dates for marketing elements such as trailers or advertising by companies with No Time to Die deals. For example, Advertising Age reported in 2018 that star Daniel Craig filmed a Bond-themed Heineken commercial related to the movie.

MI6’s James Bond & Friends podcast said in August that a preliminary version of the trailer, also known as a rough cut, had been prepared. However, that trailer has yet to be shown officially.

The teaser trailer “was very briefly leaked on Instagram a couple of months ago but was swiftly removed,” MI6 said.

“The studio and distributors are meeting this week to finalize the ‘No Time To Die’ marketing strategy,” MI6 said.

MGM is the home studio of the Bond series, which is produced by Eon Productions. No Time to Die is being released in the U.S. by United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between MGM and Annpurna Pictures. Universal is handling international distribution.

TCM to show 19 James Bond films in September

Turner Classic Movies, the U.S. movie channel, is showing 19 James Bond movies on Thursdays this month.

With TCM, the “broadcasting day” starts at 6 a.m. New York time and runs until 6 a.m. the following day. With that in mind, here’s the schedule.

Sept. 5: Dr. No, 8 p.m.; From Russia With Love, 10 p.m.; Goldfinger, 12:15 a.m.; Thunderball, 2:15 a.m.; You Only Live Twice, 4:45 a.m.

Sept. 12: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 8 p.m., Diamonds Are Forever, 10:30 p.m.; Live And Let Die, 12: 45 a.m.; The Man With the Golden Gun, 3 a.m.

Sept. 19: The Spy Who Loved Me, 8 p.m.; Moonraker, 10:15 p.m.; For Your Eyes Only, 12: 30 a.m.; Octopussy, 3 a.m.; A View to a Kill, 5:15 a.m.

Sept. 26: The Living Daylights, 8 p.m.; Licence to Kill, 10:30 p.m.; GoldenEye, 1 a.m.; Tomorrow Never Dies, 3:30 a.m.; The World Is Not Enough, 5:30 a.m.

On TCM, movies are shown uncut, although in 2009 some Bond films had minor changes.

The Bond films are part of a broader TCM program schedule celebrating the 100th anniversary of United Artists.

UA was the studio that originated the Bond film series produced by Eon Productions. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought UA in 1981. Bond films have been released under the MGM brand since The World Is Not Enough.

On Wednesdays, TCM will show additional UA movies, including A Hard Day’s Night, West Side Story, The Pink Panther and Midnight Cowboy.

MGM and Annapurna Pictures this year revived the UA name (as United Artists Releasing) for the joint venture that releases movies from both company in the U.S.

Bond 25 questions: The odds and ends edition

No Time to Die logo

No Time to Die’s production grinds on. Still, the blog has a few questions.

Annapurna Pictures apparently cut a deal with its banks. What’s the significance for No Time to Die?

There were reports from major entertainment news sites such as The Hollywood Reporter and Variety that Annapurna was preparing for bankruptcy in case it couldn’t reach a deal with its lenders.

Variety this week reported Annapurna had reached such a deal, covering $200 million worth of debt. Lenders will get 82 cents on the dollar, according to Variety.

Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are partners in United Artists Releasing, which will distribute No Time to Die in the U.S., with Universal handling international distribution.

An Annapurna bankruptcy might, at the least, been a distraction. Now, assuming Variety’s report is correct, bankruptcy is off the table. Annapurna can figure out how it wants to continue operations with the debt issue settled.

Is that the end of it?

I wouldn’t be surprised in the long run if there were some sort of restructuring at United Artists Releasing. Perhaps MGM buys out Annapurna. Or something else. Regardless, that’s a longer-term question that can be addressed separately from No Time to Die.

When’s the No Time to Die teaser trailer coming out?

At this point, who knows?

A favorite fan theory was the title for Bond 25 wouldn’t come out until the teaser trailers. Instead, the title was dropped in the afternoon New York time.

It may be the teaser trailer’s debut will be just as unpredictable. Maybe in a few days. Maybe a few weeks. It doesn’t seem worth guessing right now.

Annapurna settles debt, Variety says

Annapurna logo

Annapurna Pictures has settled $200 million in debt, Variety reported.

Lenders who participated in a credit line will receive 82 cents for every dollar owed, the entertainment news outlet said, citing sources it didn’t identify.

The deal was reached “in the past few days” and an announcement may be made soon, Variety said. The $200 million credit line won’t be replaced, according to Variety.

Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer co-own United Artists Releasing. That entity releases Annapurna and MGM films in the U.S., including next year’s No Time to Die James Bond film. Universal will handle international distribution of the 25th Bond movie made by Eon Productions.

The founder of Annapurna is Megan Ellison. Her father, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, conducted the negotiations with lenders.

Eon’s Rhythm Section gets delayed again

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions’ The Rhythm Section, the company’s non-Bond spy film, has been pushed back a second time to early 2020, Variety reported.

The movie, starring Blake Lively, is now scheduled for Jan. 31, 2020, the entertainment news outlet said.

The Rhythm Section was originally scheduled by Paramount for Feb. 22 of this year. Lively suffered an injury during filming in 2017. The movie’s release was pushed back to Nov. 22.

Lively “underwent two hand surgeries before shooting resumed,” according to Variety.

.The new release date means that Eon will have two movies coming out a little more than two months apart. No Time to Die, Eon’s 25th James Bond film, will be released on April 3, 2020, in the U.K. and April 8 in the U.S.

The Bond film will be will be released by United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna Pictures, in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

Annapurna may be near deal with banks, Deadline says

Annapurna logo

Annapurna Pictures, which is involved with the distribution of Bond 25, may be near a deal with banks and avoid bankruptcy, Deadline: Hollywood reported.

Tech mogul Larry Ellison, father of Annapurna founder Megan Ellison, has offered banks between 80 and 85 cents on the dollar on what the company owes the banks, the entertainment website said, citing sources it didn’t identify.

“This for a debt sources place at north of $200 million that the company defaulted on, through its $350 million credit facility secured in fall 2017,” Deadline reported. “The credit facility was to be replenished by receivables, which weren’t nearly enough to service the debt.”

Why Bond fans should care: Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Bond’s home studios) are partners in United Artists Releasing. UA Releasing will distribute Bond 25 in the U.S. while Universal handles distribution internationally.

The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline and other entertainment sites previously reported Annapurna was considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy. With Chapter 11, a company reorganizes under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.

The only reason this figures into Bond 25 is because MGM’s own financial weakness. MGM had its own Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, which left it without its own distribution operation. It joined forces with Annapurna to at least get back into the distribution business in the U.S. Annapurna started a distribution operation in 2017.

MGM Says Bond 25 ‘on schedule’

MGM’s Leo the Lion logo

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s chief operating officer this week said Bond 25 is “progressing on schedule.”

Christopher Brearton made the comment during prepared remarks on an Aug. 6 investor call after MGM released second-quarter financial results.

Brearton has been the top ranking MGM executive since Gary Barber was deposed as chief executive officer in 2018.

The call was one day before The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline: Hollywood reported that Annapurna Pictures was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

MGM and Annapurna are partners in United Artists Releasing, which distributes MGM and Annapurna films in the U.S. UAR is slated to handled Bond 25 distribution in the United States next year. Universal will handle international distribution of the Bond film.

An Annapurna bankruptcy may or may not affect Bond 25.

There wasn’t much else in either the earnings report or investor call related to Bond 25.

MGM said it boosted “net cash investment in content” during 2019’s first half “which included the initial production costs for Bond 25 and investments in our premium scripted series, The Handmaid’s Tale (season 3), Perpetual Grace, LTD (season 1) and Four Weddings and a Funeral (season 1), plus” more programming for its Epix premium channel.

Bond 25 questions: The Annapurna edition

Eon’s Bond 25 logo

Annapurna, one of the studios involved with Bond 25, has been having a financial crunch after a series of movies that underperformed at the box office. The Hollywood Reporter has said, quoting “multiple sources” that Annapurna has hired a law firm to explore “bankruptcy protection.”

Since Annapurna is a Bond 25 player, naturally the blog has a few questions.

What does Annapurna have to say?

Megan Ellison, Annapurna’s founder, wrote a note to employees.

“I got word this morning that there are some rumblings around town about our current status with the banks and that a story is likely to hit the press at some point today,” Ellison wrote, according to THR.

“Restructuring deals with financial institutions is not uncommon, yet the process is usually handled without a spotlight on it….Regardless of whatever comes out in the press, the truth is that we are well on our continued path towards success. There will always be speculation, misinformation and personal jabs in the press – that’s part of the business.

Sounds like a denial. Is it? 

Remember, THR reported that Annapurna had retained a law firm to evaluate a bankruptcy filing. It didn’t say the decision had actually been made to file. That’s not the firmest denial. Way back in the Watergate days, that sort of thing was dubbed a “non-denial denial.”

Moreover, when a CEO says they have no plans to do something, that applies to this moment, right now. Things change tomorrow, next week, next month, etc. Such statements have a very short life span. Things can change — and sometimes in a hurry.

Why should a Bond fan care?

Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are partners in a joint venture called United Artists Releasing. The joint venture will release Annapurna and MGM films in the U.S. UAR is slated to release Bond 25 in North America.

Bond 25, of course, is well underway in its filming schedule. The question is whether an Annapurna bankruptcy filing, should it happen  cause some kind of hiccup with U.S. distribution. Universal is handling Bond 25 distribution internationally. Meanwhile, THR updated its original story to quote an MGM “source” (not identified) as saying there won’t be an effect.

But we should be OK for Bond 25, right?

Probably, at least for now. But a week ago nobody was talking about the possibility of an Annapurna bankruptcy. It’s something to keep an eye on.

UPDATE (Aug. 8) –– Things might be dicier regarding that last question.

Deadline Hollywood has more details. The entertainment website says Annapurna “has burned through much of the $350 million credit facility the company secured in fall 2017. Those sources said Annapurna has either defaulted or is about to default on that debt. A deadline has been set by lenders for this week to come to a solution.”

Credit facility is a fancy way of saying borrowed money.

Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle and Megan Ellison’s father, may bail out Annapurna, according to Deadline. But the tech mogul is being a tough negotiator and preparations are being made to file for Chapter 11 in either California or Delaware if no deal is struck, Deadline reported.

Annapurna exploring bankruptcy, THR says

Annapurna logo

Annapurna Pictures, one of the studios involved with Bond 25, is exploring bankruptcy, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The studio “has retained a law firm to explore bankruptcy protection,” the entertainment trade publication/website reported, citing “multiple sources.”

Annapurna and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer are partners in United Artists Releasing. UA will release Bond 25 in the United States in April 2020. Universal will handle international distribution.

Annapurna was founded by tech heiress Megan Ellison in 2011. It added a distribution operation of its own before joining forces with MGM to form United Artists Releasing.

“But perhaps the biggest looking question is the fate of the James Bond franchise,” THR said of a possible Annapurna bankruptcy. “Annapurna has at least a 50 percent stake in United Artists Releasing. …How Annapurna’s cash flow issues will effect the MGM tentpole’s release will be determined.”

Annapurna is in a cash crunch after a series of money-losing films.

With a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, a company is granted protection from creditors while it devises an operating plan. Such plans are subject to approval by a bankruptcy court. MGM filed for Chapter 11 in 2010 and it reorganized while in bankruptcy court. It exited bankruptcy without a distribution operation. Forming the United Artists Releasing joint venture was a way for it to get back into distribution.

UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter updated its story. First it added this sentence related to Bond 25: “An MGM source says there would be no impact on the release of any its titles including Bond.”

The outlet (along with others) included the text of an email Megan Ellison sent to Annapurna employees. Here’s the text via THR:

Restructuring deals with financial institutions is not uncommon, yet the process is usually handled without a spotlight on it. Fortunately/unfortunately, people like to write about me and my family.

That said, it is of tremendous importance to me that you all know we are as committed as ever to this company and are in full support of our future.

Regardless of whatever comes out in the press, the truth is that we are well on our continued path towards success. There will always be speculation, misinformation and personal jabs in the press – that’s part of the business.

But know, none of that matters to me. What does is your sense of security and protecting the special community and culture at Annapurna. I believe in what we make and have no intention of stopping any time soon.

We have a lot of exciting things on the horizon and I have no doubt all of our hard work will continue to show Annapurna’s unique and powerful place in this industry.

If you have any questions or want to talk, please do not hesitate to reach out.

It should be noted that’s not the hardest denial. THR said Annapurna had hired a law firm to look into bankruptcy. Ellison didn’t specifically deny that.

UPDATE II (Aug. 8) — Deadline Hollywood has more details. The entertainment website says Annapurna “has burned through much of the $350 million credit facility the company secured in fall 2017. Those sources said Annapurna has either defaulted or is about to default on that debt. A deadline has been set by lenders for this week to come to a solution.”

Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle and Megan Ellison’s father, may bail out Annapurna, according to Deadline. But the tech mogul is being a tough negotiator and preparations are being made to file for Chapter 11 in either California or Delaware if no deal is struck, Deadline reported.