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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THR describes challenges at MGM, Bond’s home studio

MGM’s Leo the Lion logo

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer faces various challenges that may lead to James Bond’s home studio being sold, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The entertainment news outlet paints a picture of a studio in flux, including possible suitors and executive changes. Among the highlights:

–MGM needs No Time to Die, the upcoming James Bond film to generate $1 billion in global box office. Only 2012’s Skyfall has reached that mark among Bond films.

–Various companies might be interested in acquiring MGM, including Comcast (parent company of Universal, which is handling international distribution for No Time to Die), Viacom (parent company of Paramount) and tech company Apple Inc, which has expanded into streaming television.

“Apple’s fledgling streaming service is far behind Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ and the coming-soon HBO Max and Peacock,” THR said. Apple is sitting on $250 billion in cash and could easily afford an acquisition.

–MGM management is shifting. It was previously known that Jonathan Glickman was departing as head of MGM’s film division. THR reported that former Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal has joined MGM’s board of directors. Pascal had a close relationship with Barbara Broccoli of Eon Productions when Sony distributed four Bond films from 2006-2015.

–MGM wrote down the value of its Epix premium TV channel by $480 million. MGM bought out its partners for about $1 billion. Translation: MGM paid a lot more for Epix than it was worth. Epix is supposed to be a way for MGM to be consistently profitable.

–MGM is “highly leveraged” (i.e. it has a lot of debt).

MGM became the home studio of Bond when it acquired United Artists in 1981. UA had owned half of the franchise since it bought out Eon co-founder Harry Saltzman in 1975.

Ever since, the MGM-Bond relationship has been a soap opera. Danjaq, Eon’s parent company, filed a lawsuit against MGM, which contributed to the 1989-1995 hiatus. MGM underwent a 2010 bankruptcy, which caused Bond production to grind to a halt for a time.

MGM never replaced CEO Gary Barber after the studio’s board forced out the executive in 2018 MGM currently is managed by an “office of the CEO.”

One NTTD question we have no answer for

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Occasionally, the blog has “question edition” posts about Bond 25/No Time to Die. Usually, the blog provides some evidence of the answers. For this post, we can only guess.

Why is there an Eon Productions logo in the trailer for The Rhythm Section but not for No Time to Die?

Probably language in contracts. But your guess is as good as mine.

The Rhythm Section trailer has logos for Paramount (studio that’s releasing the movie), Global Road (major co-financing entity) and Eon (company that made the movie).

No Time to Die’s trailer has logos for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Bond’s home studio) and Universal (handling international distribution). Not mentioned is United Artists Releasing, the joint venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures.

United Artists Releasing is performing distribution duties for No Time to Die in the United States.  It is referenced in the first poster for the movie, down toward the bottom.

MGM and Annpurna formed the joint venture to perform U.S. distribution of each other’s movies. MGM movies would have the MGM logo, Annapurna films would have the Annapurna logo. The joint venture was announced in the fall of 2017. The United Artists Releasing name was announced on the 100th anniversary of the formation of United Artists in early 2019.

MGM film division chief to depart

MGM’s Leo the Lion logo

Jonathan Glickman, the president of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s film division, is leaving James Bond’s home studio, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Glickman, while hardly a household name, got some notoriety in 2014. That’s when Sony Pictures was hacked and confidential memos and emails became public.

Sony distributed four James Bond films through SPECTRE. Glickman wrote leaked memos about SPECTRE’s budget where he made suggestions for cost savings.

Glickman joined MGM in 2011 following a 2010 bankruptcy. He was part of a new executive team that took command of the studio.

When Glickman got the MGM post, the studio was run by Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum. Birnbaum stepped down to become a producer working out of MGM. Barber was fired by MGM’s board and never replaced. The studio is supervised by an “office of the CEO.”

Glickman’s duties included supervision of Skyfall, SPECTRE and No Time to Die. Glickman will stay with MGM long enough for the completion of No Time to Die, THR said.

Michael De Luca, who has experience as a film executive and producer will take over Glickman’s duties, THR said.

It’s hard to say what direct impact Glickman’s departure will have on the Bond franchise. The studio is one of Hollywood’s weakest and is owned by private equity firms. Glickman will be a producer working at MGM.

The departing executive “is said to have developed a strong relationship” with Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions, which makes the Bond films, according to THR.

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.

‘Show me the money!’

Daniel Craig/James Bond character poster

Two separate events created a furor and accusations of entertainment companies being cheap.

One was the competition announced for No Time to Die poster artwork.

Under terms of the contest, all entries become the property of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, James Bond’s home studio.

Five winners will receive 2,000 British pounds ($2,665). Another 20 pieces of artwork will be designated as finalists and receive 250 pounds ($333.12) each.

The tweet announcing the contest asked: “Are you a budding artist or illustrator? Here’s your chance to design poster artwork inspired by Daniel Craig’s Bond film.”

Twitter, though, can be an unforgiving place at times. While some Bond fans indicated their approval, many artists typed replies that included some pretty harsh comments (i.e, swear words), essentially saying artists should get paid and terms of the contest are onerous.

Examples (without swear words) include THIS TWEET, THIS TWEET, and THIS TWEET.

CLICK HERE and you can scroll down and see the replies for yourself.

The other situation, mostly unrelated except for the money angle, concerns Discovery Networks, which wants to eliminate royalty payments to composers.

Here’s an excerpt from a story by Variety.

Discovery has informed many of its top composers that, beginning in 2020, they must give up all performance royalties paid for U.S. airings, and that they must sign away their ability to collect royalties on all past shows on its networks.

Eliminating royalties will reduce composer income by 80 percent to 90 percent for those shows, Variety said. According to the report, composers don’t get paid that much up front. Discovery includes the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, HGTV and Food Network.

Professional composers took to Twitter to express their disapproval.

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