Bond 25 questions: James Bond Day edition

No Time to Die teaser poster

Another James Bond Day appears to be in the books. But the blog still has some questions about the meaning of the day’s events.

What’s this holiday’s name again?

In 2012, Global James Bond Day debuted. It was the 50th anniversary of when Dr. No had its U.K. debut. The new “holiday” was a marketing move to note the Bond film franchise’s 50th anniversary.

Since then, it’s had the name Global James Bond Day. Until this year.

Eon Productions (via a tweet) as well as Pinewood Studios (also in a tweet), Orlebar Brown (a maker of pricey 007-themed clothing, also in a tweet) and Aston Martin (you guessed it, in a tweet) all called it James Bond Day, with the “Global” taken off.

However, No Time to Die director Cary Fukunaga, in a video on his Instagram page, called it “International James Bond Day.”

The memo didn’t make it to many Bond fan sites that kept referring to it as Global James Bond Day.

What about the teaser poster?

It came out on (Global/International) James Bond Day. But it was a minimalist affair, with an image of Daniel Craig in a tuxedo.

What about the teaser trailer?

That’s an event for another day, apparently. We’re about six months from the debut of No Time to Die. So you’d think it’d be out sooner than later. But not on (Global/International) James Bond Day.

Who was responsible for the teaser poster?

Some fans on social media were inclined to blame studios (either MGM, Bond’s home studio or its distribution partners).

However, in 2015, Eon’s Michael Wilson said Eon does the marketing and studios just execute what Eon devises. If he was correct, Eon has some fingerprints on that poster.

What about those Bond-themed names for new roads at Pinewood Studios?

Pinewood said an expansion area will have a Michael G. Wilson Road and Skyfall Avenue. The announcement came as the future of Bond at Pinewood is up in the air.

Pinewood Group PLC, Pinewood’s owner, and Walt Disney Co. have announced a deal where Disney will lock up the vast bulk of Pinewood facilities in a long-term deal. Shepperton Studios, also owned by Pinewood Group, this summer reached a deal with Netflix that locks up most of that studio space.

It remains to be seen how this will play out. But it raises the possibility that Disney crews will travel on Michael G. Wilson Road and Skyfall Avenue so they can perform their day’s work. Not to mention going to the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage to do a day’s labor.

Apple seen as buyer to stock new streaming service (MGM?)

Apple logo

Apple Inc., which is preparing to launch a streaming television service, is seen as looking to buy entertainment companies to get a library of titles for viewing. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, James Bond’s home studio, comes up on the list of possibilities.

Earlier this month, Apple said its Apple TV + will go live Nov. 1 and cost $4.99 a month, $2 less than rival Disney +. The problem is Apple doesn’t have the library of titles that Disney has, which includes projects made under the Disney, Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios brands. Marvel, in particular, is making new series for Disney + to go along with its various movie titles. AT&T, which owns Warner Bros., also is getting into streaming television.

Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance had separate stories on Sept. 13 raising the question whether Apple may buy entertainment properties to boost its supply of programming.

Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg story (which was picked up by The Washington Post):

Much has been made of Apple TV+ undercutting competitors, but the price was set low to make up for the fact that, unlike rival services, it won’t contain a backlog of content out of the gate. (snip)

Apple’s lack of a library argues for the company to buy a production studio. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (which also owns the Starz premium channel), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (known as MGM), Sony Pictures and indie studio A24 are all prospects.

Yahoo Finance interviewed Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.

“It’s a content arms race,” Ives told Yahoo. “Right now, Apple has built a house, they’ve priced it accordingly. They need to fill it with content and we think that’s going to be the next trick up the sleeve for (Apple CEO Tim) Cook in terms of bigger M&A.” That’s mergers and acquisitions for those who don’t converse in business talk.

Ives’s pecking order for potential purchases was as follows: A24 Studio, Lionsgate, Viacom/CBS, Sony Pictures, MGM Studios, Netflix “and then a potential gaming publisher (that could be incorporated into Apple’s streaming service or a separate gaming subscription service) as a wild card.”

Sony distributed the four most recent Bond films. It’s not involved with No Time to Die, which will be distributed by United Artists Releasing (joint venture between MGM and Annapurna) in the U.S. and Universal internationally.

MGM has long been one of the weakest studios, having survived various restructurings and a bankruptcy. MGM controls half of the Bond film franchise along with Danjaq, parent company of Eon Productions. MGM also owns a large film library, which includes the old United Artists library containing such titles (in addition to Bond films) as West Side Story, The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, the Rocky series and the Pink Panther series.

Apple certainly has plenty of cash. Interesting times in show biz.

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.