Pluto TV to have Bond streaming channel

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Viacom’s Pluto TV advertising-supported live streaming service will offer a James Bond channel, Deadline: Hollywood reported.

Pluto TV 007 is scheduled to go live on Sunday and will offer 18 Bond films, Deadline said. The channel was made possible through a licensing agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions, according to the entertainment news outlet.

Pluto TV was founded in 2013 and purchased by Viacom earlier this year. It offers more than 160 networks across different genres, Deadline said.

No Time to Die takedown notices sent to Bond websites

DMCA takedown notices have been sent on behalf of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to some James Bond websites concerning videos shot of a No Time to Die car chase being filmed in Italy.

The chase is being filmed in public spaces in and around Matera. As a result, video has been shot by onlookers and posted to social media.

In turn, such video has been showing up on Twitter posts from Bond websites. Such video also has been on the websites of tabloids, including an Aug. 25 article in The Express.

Here’s an excerpt from an entry in the NOLO legal encyclopedia about takedown notices.

A DMCA takedown refers to a notice sent because a copyright owner believes someone has posted an infringement and they want it removed without the hassle of filing an infringement lawsuit. (It is sanctioned under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.) The copyright owner typically notifies the web provider that hosts the site (the Internet Service Provider or ISP). The ISP (assuming they’re not in Rumania, China, or some other country where the locals don’t fear U.S. copyright lawyers) typically removes whatever is complained about — for example, an infringing picture at a blog, an infringing movie at YouTube, etc. By “expeditiously” removing the infringing content, the ISP is given a “safe harbor” meaning that the ISP can’t be sued for infringement.

According to NOLO, an affected website can consider a counter notice. “If the complaining copyright owner fails to respond to your counter notice by filing a lawsuit, the ISP/OSP may re-post your content,” NOLO said.

UPDATE (2:15 p.m. New York time): One of the recipients of a takedown notice provided a copy. I’m not identifying that person here.  But in the email this person received via Twitter, MGM’s “authorized agent” described the supposed copyright infringement as “Unauthorized behind scenes.”

This was repeated for each alleged violation. The email from Twitter describes steps to try to contest the takedown.

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.