Bond 25 questions: The cinema uncertainty edition

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

So, one major studio, Warner Bros., says it will release its 2021 film slate simultaneously in movie theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service. Also, the costs of No Time to Die, the 25th James bond films continue to balloon.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

What does all this mean for No Time to Die?

It reinforces how No Time to Die was a pre-COVID-19 movie that will debut, one way or another, in a post-COVID-19 world.

What’s different? Really different?

Both Walt Disney Co. (Disney +) and Warner Bros. (HBO Max) are really committed to their corporate streaming services. The Warner Bros. announcement supposedly is temporary for 2021. But few believe this is a short-term step.

To be sure, HBO Max is available mostly in the U.S. But AT&T, the owner of Warner Bros., appears committed to streaming.

Yes, but No Time to Die has no tie to AT&T and Warner Bros., right?

True. The James Bond film franchise is tethered to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, one of the weakest Hollywood studios that doesn’t have a streaming service.

What does that mean?

It remains to be seen how streaming affects the Bond franchise. MGM reportedly reached out to other streaming services to license No Time to Die. Nothing came of it (as far as we know). But MGM is on the hook for a lot of money and loans related to No Time to Die.

How much?

B25 Ltd., a company formed by Eon Productions to make No Time to Die, said in a Dec. 1 U.K. regulatory filing that the film’s costs were approaching $290 million.

The traditional business model called for a wide, worldwide theatrical release, followed by a home video release. But COVID-19 has changed things. Movie theatres have been closed in multiple markets.

And now?

Everything is in flux. Netflix is putting pressure on traditional studios. Disney and Warner Bros. are trying to compete with Netflix with their own streaming services.

MGM, meanwhile, doesn’t have a streaming service. Reportedly, streaming services including Apple + considered a one-year license for No Time to Die but found MGM’s asking price too steep.

For now, No Time to Die is tied to the traditional business model.

NTTD cost approaches $290M, B25 says

No Time to Die poster released Sept. 1.

The cost of No Time to Die was approaching $290 million as of mid-year, according to a U.K. regulatory filing.

B25 Ltd., in a Dec. 1 filing, put the cost at 213.9 million British pounds as of June 30 for a “work in progress.” The filing defines that as “costs incurred on film production for which the film has not yet been completed or delivered.”

At current exchange rates, that’s about $287.7 million.

Eon Productions formed B25 as part of the making of No Time to Die. The movie has been delayed multiple times, including twice because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No Time to Die currently is scheduled for release in April 2021.

The filing also said the company received 95,487 pounds (about $128,600) as part of a U.K. job retention program. The payments were related to “furlough costs for payroll staff” from March to June 2020. The average monthly number of people employed was 25. The government payments were reported earlier this week by the Daily Mail.

B25 reports spending for No Time to Die

No Time to Die poster

B25 Ltd. in a U.K, regulatory filing said the production of No Time to Die was almost 199.5 million British pounds.

B25 was formed as part of the making of the 25th James Bond film. Eon Productions is the parent company of B25.

In the filing, B25 lists 199.47 million pounds for a “work in progress” which “comprises costs incurred on film production for which the film has not yet been completed or delivered.”

At the current exchange rate of about $1.21 to the pound, that would be about $241.4 million.

Principal photography of No Time to Die began in April 2019 and was completed in the fall. Post-production worked extended into early 2020.

The filing also says the production received a tax credit of 46.8 million pounds.

A look at B25 Ltd.’s paperwork

Barbara Broccoli

Barbara Broccoli

Corrects date of original incorporation to 2015.

There was something Bond 25 related that actually happened in 2016: some filings concerning the updating of B25 Ltd., a production-related company.

During production of Skyfall and SPECTRE, similar entities were formed, B23 for Skyfall, B24 for SPECTRE.

B25 Ltd. was incorporated on May 6, 2015, according to documents filed with the U.K. It was incorporated as a private limited company. (CLICK HERE for a definition.)

B25 has 100 shares, all of which are held by Eon Productions.

There were some filings with 2016 dates updating information on directors, although the changes took place in 2015.

The company has five directors, led by Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.

The other directors are David Pope (who has titles such as production executive and co-producer on recent Bond films), John Roebuck (who has received accountant credits) and Andrew Noakes (who has had credits including associate producer and co-producer).

Thanks to reader Matthew Miner for the heads up.