Eon’s new normal, the sequel

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Almost three years ago, this blog had a post titled Eon’s new normal which said, “The new normal: A Bond film maybe every third year (Bond 24, the next movie is scheduled for the fall of 2015), with various other projects in-between.”

In March of this year, Gary Barber, the CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in effect confirmed that was the case concerning Eon, the company that makes 007 films and is a partner with MGM in the Bond franchise.

The 007 films have “been on a cycle of every three to hour years and I anticipate it will be on that same three-to-four year cycle,” Barber said on a conference call with investors and analysts. (MGM reported second-quarter 2016 results on Wednesday but had no 007 news.)

Essentially, Eon can’t make Bond films without MGM and vice versa. This goes back to the early 1980s when MGM acquired United Artists. UA, in turn, had acquired Harry Saltzman’s share of the 007 franchise in the mid-1970s.

Since our 2013 post, it has become evident that Eon, and its co-boss Barbara Broccoli, do not want to be rushed into making James Bond films. Eon’s current production is Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, a drama about American actress Gloria Grahame.

In the “old days,” Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, the Eon co-founders, pursued non-Bond projects while cranking out classic 007 films on a regular schedule.

In the second decade of the 21st century, not so much. There was a four-year gap between Die Another Day and Casino Royale (2002-2006). Quantum of Solace came just two years later. But another four-year gap followed, mostly because of an MGM bankruptcy (2008-2012) between Quantum of and Skyfall.

Skyfall was a huge hit, and the first (and so far only) Bond to crack the $1 billion club. An executive of Sony (which released the movie for MGM) said the next film would be out in two years. However, Broccoli and star Daniel Craig told Collider.com in 2012, in effect, that exec didn’t know what he was talking about.

Broccoli won out. SPECTRE, the most recent 007 film, came out three years later, in 2015.

Some fans, to this day, insist that three-year gap was because Eon was waiting on Sam Mendes to direct another film. But it’s very clear that Barbara Broccoli does not want to resume an every-other-year schedule, including comments she made in a 2012 interview with the Los Angeles Times.

On internet message boards, 007 fans debate whether Daniel Craig will come back or not for another Bond film. The real debate is whether Bond movies will come out three times a decade, or just twice.

A related question: Is the 007 fan base growing or static? Skyfall, in a way, was helped by its four-year gap. Fans were anxious to finally see another James Bond film. Is that the right approach for the future?

Regardless, as we said three years ago, there’s a new normal for Eon. The details are still being hammered out.

 

New Hawaii Five-0 borrows from 007 again


Last season, the new Hawaii Five-0 televisions series seemed to borrow quite a bit from the 2002 007 film Die Another Day in an episode where Steve McGarrett 2.0 (Alex O’Loughlin) ended up going to North Korea and was tortured by arch-nemesis Wo Fat.

For the third-season premier on Sept. 24, the CBS show was at it again, this time paying an homage (if you can call it that) to You Only Live Twice and Licence to Kill.

Wo Fat, captured at the end of last season was supposed to be transferred to a super-maximum security prison on the Mainland. He’s in an armored car (not unlike, say, Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill). A helicopter swoops out of the air. Instead of using a giant magnet (as the Japanese secret service did in You Only Live Twice), it uses a giant claw and takes the armored car away.

The helicopter then, once over the Pacific Ocean, lets go of the armored car, as in Twice (except it appeared to be GCI rather than the real thing). After the armored car is submerged, there are thugs in scuba equipment ready to rescue Wo Fat (again similar to Licence to Kill where the armored car carrying Sanchez goes off a bridge and into the water).

As we type this, the episode is still being broadcast, so maybe the script by Peter M. Lenkov has more 007 homages in store.

UPDATE: No other 007 homages (at least not as obvious), but the episode also showed how the new series is different than the 1968-80 original.

In the third season of the original Five-O (spelled with a capital O instead of a 0 as in the new series), the girlfriend (Anne Archer) of Dan Williams was killed by a murderer wanting it to appear to be the work of a psychopath. Danno eventually caught up with the culprit and could have let him fall off a cliff. Danno was tempted but brings his man in alive.

In the third-season opener of new Five-0, the wife of Chin Ho Kelly dies. When Chin Ho catches up to his man, he shoots him dead. There are no witnesses and he gets off without repercussion.