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.