Broccoli & Wilson considered ‘shutting down’ B25: EW

Daniel Craig/James Bond character poster

Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson “considered shutting down” No Time to Die “entirely” after the film’s first director, Danny Boyle departed, Entertainment Weekly said, citing comments from Broccoli during an interview for a new EW story.

The entertainment publication didn’t provide additional details. It merely says the production continued after the producers met Cary Fukunaga, who got hired as the new director.

Eon Productions makes the Bond films and controls the franchise along with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. No Time to Die is being released by United Artists Releasing, a joint venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures, in the U.S. with Universal internationally. Presumably those parties would have had to be consulted had a shutdown been ordered.

The movie originally had a fall 2019 release date. With Boyle’s departure because of “creative differences,” it was pushed back, first to February 2020 and finally to its current April 2020 release.

Some other details in the EW story:

–David Dencik plays a kidnapped scientist referenced in previously released plot summaries.

–Broccoli appears to deny that Lashana Lynch’s Nomi character received the 007 designation after Bond left MI6. “People write these theories without knowing,” Broccoli told EW. The Mail on Sunday reported in July 2019 that Nomi had been assigned the 007 code number in the film

UPDATE (4:55 p.m. New York time): Reader Jeffrey Westhoff notes that Brie Larson, star of Captain Marvel (where Lashana Lynch was a co-star) wrote a tweet in December where she believed Lynch’s character had the 007 code number.

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No Time to Die world premiere set for March 31

No Time to Die teaser poster

No Time to Die’s world premiere will be March 31 in London, Eon Productions announced today.

The premiere showing will be at Royal Albert Hall, according to the announcement.

The 25th James Bond film will have its U.K. release two days later on April 2. It won’t arrive in the U.S. until an official release of April 10 (although there will be likely “preview showings” on the night of April 9.)

Royal Albert Hall previously hosted the world premieres of Skyfall and SPECTRE.

No Time to Die finished principal photography in October, with some pickup shots being filmed since then.

The movie is in post-production. Last week, it was announced that Hans Zimmer is scoring the movie and that Billie Eilish is co-writing and performing the title song.

The MI6 James Bond website reported Jan. 7 that recording sessions for the score were underway. The website was the first to report that Eilish would perform the title song.

Some questions Variety could have asked Broccoli & Wilson

Eon Productions logo

This week, Variety published an interview with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions. What follows are some questions that could have been asked.  Maybe they were but there’s no reference in the story that they were.

–Mr. Wilson, you’re 78. You and your half-sister Barbara Broccoli have run the franchise for a quarter-century. Does Eon have a succession plan in place? If so, can you describe it? Might you retire? Or do you plan to carry on? Or  will Barbara Broccoli take full command?

–Has anyone proposed acquiring Danjaq/Eon in the last 10 years?

–Do you expect the Broccoli-Wilson family will remain in control of the Bond film franchise 10 years from now?

Michael G. Wilson

–Who proposed that “Smallville”-style TV show? (The Variety story said Broccoli and Wilson rejected a “Smallville”-style TV series with Bond at Eton as a teenager) Was it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, your studio partner? Why did Eon reject it?

–How would have the proposed “Smallville”-style TV show differ from the “Young Bond” novels published by Ian Fleming Publications? Would it have been substantially different in tone than the James Bond Jr. animated show (which featured Bond’s nephew, rather than Bond himself) from the 1990s?

–MGM, has undergone many changes over the past 40 years. It exited bankruptcy in 2010. It hasn’t had a CEO since Gary Barber exited in March 2018. Are you satisfied with where MGM is right now?

–The entertainment industry is facing a lot of changes with streaming. What is Bond’s place amid all these changes? Stay with movies? Make some kind of adjustment?

I did a couple of tweets with a few of these questions. I got some pushback from a reader who felt the questions were rude. The thing is, all of these are legitimate questions.

Remember, Albert R. Broccoli put Danjaq (parent company of Eon Productions) up for sale in the early 1990s. Nothing came of that. But succession planning is common. Even family-owned companies do succession planning all the time.

Broccoli & Wilson give an interview to Variety

Barbara Broccoli, boss of Eon Productions

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions gave an interview to Variety that’s the cover story in the entertainment outlet’s print edition. Much of it consists of new variations of previous comments. Some highlights:

–Broccoli on No Time to Die being Daniel Craig’s final James Bond film: “I’m in total denial. I’ve accepted what Daniel has said, but I’m still in denial. It’s too traumatic for me.”

–Broccoli on why Craig is such a good Bond actor: “Bond in the novel is a silhouette. Daniel has given him depth and an inner life. We were looking for a 21st-century hero, and that’s what he delivered. He bleeds; he cries; he’s very contemporary.”

–Broccoli on how No Time to Die wraps up Craig’s five Bond films: “We have come to an emotionally satisfying conclusion.”

–The duo on possible future Bond actors: Wilson told Variety, “You think of him as being from Britain or the Commonwealth, but Britain is a very diverse place. Broccoli’s comment:  “He can be of any color, but he is male.”

–Broccoli and Wilson rejected “a ‘Smallville’-like television series that would have followed a teenage Bond at Eton.” Variety provided no details when this proposal was made.

–Broccoli on original No Time to Die director Danny Boyle’s departure from the project. “It was hard on both sides because we had mutual respect and admiration, but better to know [the differences] before you embark on a project. We worked together well for a number of months, but there came a point when we were discussing the kind of film that we wanted to make, and we both came to the conclusion we were not aligned.”

–Broccoli on the job replacement director Cary Fukunaga has done. “He’s brought a fresh new approach. He’s made an emotionally engaging film. It’s epic both in the emotional scale and on the landscape scale.”

–Variety says once Boyle departed, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade started on “an entirely new script with Fukunaga.” If true, that means all the work they did in 2017 got thrown out entirely. The 2017 work was put off to the side because Danny Boyle and John Hodge proposed a different, supposedly great, idea.

The Rhythm Section: Clues for NTTD’s score?

No Time to Die teaser poster

We still don’t know about how No Time To Die’s score will turn out. But it’s perhaps worth a look at another spy adventure being produced by Eon Productions.

The Rhythm Section is scheduled to be released by Paramount at the end of January.

According to the movie’s IMDB.com entry, the composer will be Steve Mazzaro. He is among more than 60 composers affiliated with Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company.

The Rhythm Section’s music credits also include Zimmer as “executive music producer” and Lorne Balfe as providing “additional music.” Balfe is another Zimmer-affiliated composer who also did the score for Mission: Impossible-Fallout.

Eon previously said Dan Romer, who worked with NTTD director Cary Fukunaga on some projects, was going to score the 25th James Bond film.

Romer apparently has departed the project. But that hasn’t been confirmed by Eon.

Some Bond fan sites have said Zimmer’s Remote Control company may be involved with No Time To Die. Regardless, Zimmer’s company is involved with Eon’s The Rhythm Section.

We’ll see if all this turns out to be a factor for No Time to Die.

Pluto TV: Bond fans hardly knew ye

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Easy come, easy go.

Viacom’s Pluto TV streaming service is ending its free James Bond channel, Pluto said in a Dec. 29 tweet.

Before we say goodbye to our #007 channel, we’re spending the next 2 days counting down fan-favorite James Bond movies!” according to the post on Twitter.

“Soak up the best of Bond on our #PlutoTV 007 channel (CH 7)! pluto.tv/live-tv/pluto- #JamesBond”

Pluto TV was founded in 2013 and purchased by Viacom earlier this year. Its James Bond channel debuted in September. It provided Bond films with commercials thanks to a licensing deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions.

You can view Pluto’s tweet below. h/t James Bond Television

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Apple holds preliminary talks with MGM, Journal reports

Apple logo

Apple Inc. has held preliminary talks about acquiring Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the home studio of the James Bond film series, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Most of the story is behind a paywall. However, CET has a summary that can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Apple wants is considering “ways to broaden the appeal” of its Apple TV app and $4.99 a month Apple TV + streaming service, the Journal said. In addition to MGM, Apple also had preliminary meetings with the Pac 12 college athletic conference concerning possible programming, the Journal said.

In streaming, Apple is up against various competitors, including Netflix, Disney + and HBO Max. Financial analysts have speculated that Apple needs more programming compared to those competitors.

MGM controls the Bond film franchise, along with Danjaq, parent company of Eon Productions. The company also has a large film library, much of it from the old United Artists, which MGM acquired in 1981. MGM is owned by a group of hedge funds.

MGM has been rebuilding since a bankruptcy in 2010. It has gotten back into film distribution with the formation of the United Artists Releasing joint venture with Annapurna Pictures. MGM also is trying to build other “franchises” such as Creed and the animated Addams Family.

In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter said that Apple and Amazon were looking to get involved with the Bond franchise. At the time, distribution for Bond 25 (now titled No Time to Die) was unsettled. What eventually emerged was United Artists Releasing handling U.S. distribution for No Time to Die, with Universal performing distribution internationally.

The big development since then is the emergence of the streaming competition as studios move to counter Netflix. Walt Disney Co. has been aggressively marketing Disney +, including original programs from its Star Wars and Marvel franchises.