Eon Productions posts 2021 financial results in U.K. filing

Eon Productions logo

Eon Productions, in a U.K, regulatory filing for the year ended Dec. 31, 2021, said it had a loss before taxes of 48.9 million British pounds ($59.1 million) before taxes.

After taxes, Eon reported a profit of 2.44 million British pounds (almost $2.97 million) after taxes.

To view for yourself and CLICK HERE and click on the entry for Dec. 29, 2022.

2021 was the year Eon’s most recent James Bond film, No Time to Die, was released. The bulk of Bond film finances come from its studio partner, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, now part of Amazon.

“The directors (of Eon) consider the results of the group to be in line with expectations,” the filing says. “The results for the year were considered more than satisfactory by the directors who anticipate an increase in the net profitability of the group during periods when a film is released.

“Looking forward, the directors the directors anticipate to display continued growth and profitability whilst concentrating on the next development of its next film toward its production.”

The filing is signed by “M Wilson CBE, Director.” Presumably, that means Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions.

The financial results were first reported in a Variety story.

The unheralded James Bond anniversary

Albert R. Broccoli (Illustration by Paul Baack)

Last month marked a notable anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, but it dealt with behind-the-scenes maneuvers.

In December 1992, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer settled a lawsuit filed by Danjaq LLC, the parent company of Eon Productions. The legal fight had paralyzed the production of Bond films.

The dispute was related to a takeover of MGM by financier Giancarlo Parretti. Here’s an excerpt from a UPI story about the settlement.

The companies said the agreement settles the suit Danjaq filed in February 1991 against MGM and its former parent company, Pathe Communications Corp. Danjaq claimed in the suit that then-MGM owner Parretti had breached contracts with it by selling the rights to the Bond films to help finance his $1.4 billion purchase of the studio in late 1990 from Kirk Kerkorian.

This is how Albert R. Broccoli, the co-founder of Danjaq and Eon, described the situation leading up to the lawsuit in his autobiography When the Snow Melts.

We learned that our sixteen James Bond pictures were being sold off as part of Parretti’s cash-raising in order to clinch the purchase of MGM/UA. Moreover, it was clear — to us least — that these pictures were to be sold off at bargain-basement prices in a number of foreign TV and video licensing deals. The longer we looked at the fine print, the more our attorneys, Michael (G. Wilson) and me were convinced that not only an alleged breach of contract was involved. This was becoming a question of the virtual survival of James Bond…Our action was a matter of simple prudence…During the protracted lawsuits that arose from this situation we were forced to put James Bond on hold and carry on with our lives.

The legal settlement changed that. Much work would remain to relaunch the film series, such as hiring a director and writers. Still, the conclusion of the legal fight more than 30 years ago was a significant milestone.

A history of Christopher Nolan as next Bond director

Christopher Nolan

There has long been fan interest in the idea of Christopher Nolan directing a James Bond film. This week, The Bond Geek channel on YouTube brought up the idea again.

Nolan is a self-confessed Bond fan. Some bits from his trilogy of Batman movies (2005, 2008, 2012) have homages to the Bond film series. So did his 2010 movie Inception, where one segment seemed based on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

What’s more, Nolan’s name comes up every so often in connection with Bond movies.

It happened in 2013 when Nolan was mentioned as a possible director for Bond 24 (finally titled SPECTRE).

It happened again in December 2017, when a fan website said Nolan was “more than likely” to direct Bond 25, finally titled No Time to Die. I’d provide the link, except the fan site apparently took the article down.

As the blog has written before, the Bond series itself has been affected by Nolan. 2012’s Skyfall had Nolan inflences. Director Sam Mendes said so.

That influence continued with SPECTRE, which had Hoyte Van Hoytema as director of photography and Lee Smith as editor.

If you bring Nolan inside the Eon 007 tent, there are other issues. With Nolan, you typically also get the involvement of his production company, Syncopy. Nolan gets a producer’s credit. So does his wife, Emma Thomas.

As usual, we’ll see. Nolan’s next film, Oppenheimer, is scheduled for release in July 2023. Here’s the trailer:

Bond 26 questions: The Henry Cavill edition

Henry Cavill

It turns out that Henry Cavill isn’t playing Superman anymore. The actor has quit The Witcher streaming show on Netflix. So does Cavill re-enter the picture to play James Bond in Bond 26?

Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is Cavill back in the picture?

I wouldn’t go banco on that.

Much has been made how Cavill, now 39, was in contention to play Bond for Casino Royale back when he was in his early 20s.

However, we know that Eon boss Barbara Broccoli was always keen on Daniel Craig playing Bond. While there were screen tests of other actors (including Cavill), they were stalking horses to show Sony/Columbia (which would release Casino Royale) that it wasn’t a one-horse race. Except, it was a one-horse race from almost the beginning.

What about the Pierce Brosnan precedent? Eon *had* signed Brosnan in the 1980s to play Bond. But the actor’s ties to the Remington Steele TV show got in the way when NBC renewed the series at the last minute. Eon would bring Brosnan back to play Bond for GoldenEye (1995).

Eon *has never* shown that level of commitment to Cavill.

Are you skeptical that Cavill had a chance this time?

Yes.

A few years ago, the conventional wisdom was Eon wouldn’t go back to Cavill because he had played Superman and appeared in spy movies (The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in 2015 and Mission: Impossible Fallout in 2018).

Now, it could be updated by saying Cavill is damaged goods by Warner Bros. rejecting him participating in future Superman movies. And don’t forget The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie had modest box office.

Lately, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon have talked about how a future Bond actor should be younger. Then again, Daniel Craig was 37 when cast and his first Bond movie came out when he was 38.

As usual, we’ll see.

Licence to Kill treatment: Conclusion

Timothy Dalton

Continuing the blog’s examination of a March 1988 treatment by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson for Licence to Kill. The treatment was provided by Gary J. Firuta.

At the end of the blog’s last installment, Pam was flying Bond and Lupe and indicated some turbulence was ahead. She wasn’t kidding.

The plane does “a barrel roll.” Lupe is tossed off a bed in the plane onto to the floor. “Bond is amused but Lupe shouts ‘Beetch! at the top of her lungs.”

Meanwhile, in this treatment, Sanchez now is very suspicious of Bond, something that wouldn’t happen until later in the finished film. Sanchez orders his people to look out for Bond.

Bond & Co. have reached their destination, Oaxaca, near the site of the Bible Institute. Bond is in a taxi with Q, Pam and Lupe. Bond and Pam will get off at a hotel. Q is to take Lupe to Leiter in Miami “on the next available flight.” Lupe is hesitant to leave Bond. Bond tells her that Q will look after her until he can rejoin her.

Bond observes some “obviously working class Americans in their best duds” exiting a bus from the institute. Bond remembers that Sanchez had been watching institute programming. Bond tells Q to contact Leiter in Miami that the institute may be a Sanchez front.

Bond and Pam then get on a bus headed to the institute.

At the same time, Sanchez shows up and Dario is surprised to see him. “I had to come,” Sanchez tells Dario. “The Chinese are having second thoughts. They’ve heard rumors about Krest. That Kwang business upsets them. Then Bond taking Lupe and my plane. I have to show my face to prove everything’s alright.”

The treatment includes a description of an assembly line-like operation where checks and cash are separated from letters with donations. Addresses are entered into a computer database. The letters are deposited into a large shredder.

The Asian group also is being given a tour of the grounds. Eventually Bond and Pam separate, with Bond infiltrating the group of visitors by knocking out a technician and taking his place. Bond wears a filter mask and a white lab coat. Bond also has an ID with the name Jose Pico.

Sanchez, not as dense as he was in the finished movie, is aware of Bond’s presence and tells Dario to find him.

What follows is a demonstration similar to the completed film, showing how cocaine can be dissolved in gasoline. Sanchez tells his visitors he has a plan for shipments to Asia by chartering a tanker ship to Hong Kong.

Pam, meanwhile, gets away from Sanchez’ men who have been observing her. Back at the lab, Bond has been spotted. He is overcome by Sanchez henchmen.

“What is this vendetta, Senor Bond?” Sanchez asks.

“Felix Leiter,” Bond replies.

“The American drug agent? What is he? Nothing!”

“My friend,” Bond says. “A man you couldn’t buy.”

Sanchez is undeterred. “Too bad for him. So where is he now? Selling pencils in the streets?”

“No, Sanchez,” Bond says. “He’s after your head. You can’t stop men like him.”

Bond is taken to an area with a detonator. It is set for 10 minutes. The complex will go up to remove evidence.

Bond is tied up. “Dario owes you some pain,” Sanchez tells Bond. “I promised he could have you.” Sanchez steps up to Dario and pats his cheek. “Amuse yourself, Amigo.”

Sanchez and his entourage depart except for Darui and some thugs. One of Sanchez’ men ask the boss if they should let Dario know has seven minutes left.

“No!” Sanchez replies. “He has made too many mistakes lately.”

Yikes! Sanchez must have studied at the Blofeld School of Management.

While this is going on, Pam is at the facility’s auditorium watching Joe Butcher give a performance. At the same time, Leiter is watching the telecast of Butcher. Leiter tells a colleague he had received a message it was tied to Sanchez.

Back in Mexico, Dario puts Bond on the conveyor belt leading to the shredder used for all the letters sent to Joe Butcher. Dario turns it on.

Bond gets out of it thusly:

Several feet away Bond spots a stainless steel bucket besides the belt. He has enough play in his straps to swing his legs and jam both feet into the bucket. Then he swings his legs back onto the belt the instant before his foot reaches the knives of the shredder. The knives shatter as they hit the bucket. Bond falls through the shredder miraculously unscathed.

A fight breaks out as Pam catches up to Bond. She shoots Dario, who falls into the shredder. A foot chase ensues, with Bond and Pam ending up in the auditorium where Joe Butcher is doing his television broadcast. Leiter, still watching on TV, recognizes Bond. Security guards break into the auditorium and Leiter’s TV feed is interrupted. An explosion breaks out.

Bond now moves to delay a convoy of trucks containing cocaine in gasoline, with Pam flying a plane. A long description follows. The treatment includes how many of the Asian group are arrested at Acapulco, where the convoy was headed.

Bond and Sanchez have their final meeting. As in the final film, Sanchez prepares to decapitate Bond with a machete. Except, in the treatment, Bond uses a flare he took from a truck emergency box. “He thrusts burning flare into Sanchez’ face,” the treatment says. “Sanchez’ clothes, drenched in gasoline, ignite, turning him into a human torch.”

The next scene takes place at the “Mexican fiesta Acapulco.”

The scene plays out somewhat differently than the final film. We’re told, “It seems Lupe has found her true vocation taking care of Leiter.” (!) Then, Q (!) tells Bond that M wants him back “at once for re-assignment.”

During the scene, Pam is wearing her leather vest. Pam says Bond needs R&R before reporting back for duty. She asks Bond: “Why don’t you buy a yacht for a three month sail on the Caribbean with me”?

Bond asks what they will do for money

Pam opens one of the padded sections of her vest, containing “packets of hundred dollar bills.”

“You didn’t think I was going to let you put all that cash in the decompression chamber, did you? I’m a practical woman.”

At this point, after all the violence, Bond has one bad arm. He tells Pam he won’t be of much use with one arm.

“For what I have in mind, you won’t need your hands,” Pam says.

THE END

About that Daniel Craig LAT interview

Daniel Craig’s 007

Daniel Craig, after a five-film run as James Bond, reflected on his 007 run (Casino Royale through No Time to Die) in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Whatever your feelings about those five movies, the LAT interview showed the 54-year-old actor has mixed feelings. An excerpt:

“It’s my fault because I kind of didn’t shut up about the fact that I had all these injuries. I’m pissed off at myself that I ever even spoke about them,” Craig said. “I put way more work into the creative side of those movies than I did into the physical side of those movies. The physical side of the movies was just the job. I had to do it. I trained, learned the fights, that’s kind of my brain not working. The rest of it, the look, the feel, the kind of the temperature of the movies, getting Sam Mendes in to direct ‘Skyfall,’ that’s where the hard work was. Going to the gym is hard work, but it’s not really brain hard work.”

Craig endured numerous injuries. He also had unprecedented input (compared to previous actors employed by Eon Productions) into the plot and other aspects of the movies.

The actor, a year after No Time to Die came out, claims it was his idea for his version of Bond to be killed.

“Two things, one for myself and one for the franchise,” Craig said. “One, for the franchise, was that resets start again, which [the franchise] did with me. And I was like, ‘Well, you need to reset again.’ So let’s kill my character off and go find another Bond and go find another story. Start at [age] 23, start at 25, start at 30.

To be sure, there’s a lot of after-the-fact story telling before and after a movie comes out. “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend,” which is a line from 1962’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance. That’s still the case in the 21st century.

Quotes from Craig’s interviews have split Bond movie fans. Craig fans say that shows why he’s a great actor. Craig critics cite this why he’s selfish.

Whatever. It remains to be seen whether Eon gets on with the business of a post-Craig era.

Licence to Kill treatment: A bumpy flight

Timothy Dalton’s gunbarrel

Continuing a serialization of a Licence to Kill treatment by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson in 1988. Treatment provided by Gary J. Firuta.

By page 41 of the treatment, Pam “has obviously fallen for Bond in a big way.”

At this point, Pam and Q are in the hotel suite in Isthmus City.

“Q gives her a stiff upper lip English pep talk,” according to the treatment. “No one has ever gotten the best of Bond and no one ever will. She tells him to shut up and let her think.”

Just then, Bond calls. “He is standing at the pay phone in the casino dressed in Dr. Mendez’ overcoat, dark glasses and hat. Lupe is at the bar as a look out.”

Bond tells Pam she “should get down to the airport and find out where Sanchez is taking the oriental group they saw at the casino the other night. She should also make sure their plane is ready for a quick get away.”

Over the next few pages, the demise of Milton Krest at the hands of Sanchez is described. It’s similar to what would be in the final film. The main difference is one of Sanchez’ lackeys realizes this was set up by Bond.

Later, there are other bits, including Q making a phony passport for Lupe.

The sequence is more complicated than the final product. There’s this bit about Q: The quartermaster “never knew how much fun in the field.” Pam puts the intercom to “listen.”

Bond wants to finish the job the dead Hong Kong agents took on to take out Sanchez. He, Pam and Lupe are on a plane t try to intercept Sanchez.

“Lupe now in a silk robe, joins Bond. ‘James, what will be do? Franz will follow us. Kill us.”

“Not if I get him first,” Bond replies.

Pam listens on the intercom as Bond and Lupe get closer. Pam switches the intercom to “talk.” “Please fasten your seat belts. We’re about to go through some turbulence.”

TO BE CONTINUED

Sam Mendes makes his Bond film case

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes has made points about his two-film tenure in the James Bond film series. Some are new, some provide new twists.

The director, in a Nov. 8 story by The Hollywood Reporter, made new versions of previous comments about his time on Skyfall and SPECTRE, the only Bond films made during the 2010s.

The Skyfall delay was good! Bond 23, which would become Skyfall, originally was to be written by Peter Morgan and the writing team of Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Bond’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, entered bankruptcy in 2010, resulting in delays. An excerpt from the THR story:

Mendes and his collaborators used the downtime as an opportunity to creatively resuscitate the film’s storyline.

Morgan exited the project while Mendes brought in writer John Logan to rework the scripting by Purvis and Wade. Mendes has said that process helped the film and he repeats that in the new THR story.

Skyfall was the first time acknowledging that Bond aged: Skyfall “acknowledged the passage of time, arguably for the first time ever, in the series. It acknowledged that they are mortal, that they are going to age and probably die,” Mendes told THR.

Arguably, no it wasn’t. When Sean Connery did interviews for Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, he said he was playing Bond as older. In For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore’s Bond goes to the gravesite of his late wife Tracy. That movie came out in 1981 but Tracy’s headstone says she died in 1969 (the year On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was released). Lois Maxwell’s Moneypenny in 1983’s Octopussy acknowledged being older.

For more details, CLICK HERE.

SPECTRE was something else: The director didn’t get additional time for 2015’s SPECTRE.

With SPECTRE, “that time was not afforded to me,” Mendes told THR. “[With Spectre], I felt there was some pressure. Certainly Barbara (Broccoli) and Michael (G. Wilson) exerted some pressure on me and Daniel to make the next one, so that makes a big difference. People saying: ‘We want you to do it,’ and passionately wooing me to do it, was a big thing.”

Of course, Mendes could have said no. In 2015, Mendes told the BBC he almost turned SPECTRE down. “I said no to the last one and then ended up doing it, and was pilloried by all my friends,” Mendes told the BBC. “But I do think this is probably it.”

While not referenced by THR, SPECTRE also saw entire scripts made public because of hacks into Sony’s computer system. (Sony released four of the five Daniel Craig 007 films.) In addition to scripts, details about tax breaks from Mexico for SPECTRE became public. With SPECTRE, the writing team of Purvis and Wade was brought in to rewrite John Logan.

Off-beat ideas for Bond 26 (and beyond)

One-time image for Eon’s official James Bond Twitter feed

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen various fan suggestions for Bond 26. Among the suggestions:

Bring Pierce Brosnan back for a proper farewell: Pierce Brosnan starred in four Bond movies produced by Eon Productions.

The relationship ended abruptly after 2002’s Die Another Day. Eon had gotten the film rights for Casino Royale, the first Bond novel by Ian Fleming. Brosnan was out, Daniel Craig was in, and he enjoyed (well maybe) a 15-year run.

Still, many Bond fans wonder what could have been. The argument goes that Brosnan, now 69, could come back for a one-off adventure featuring an older Bond.

Hey, what about Henry Cavill?!: Cavill, born 1983, was runner-up when Craig was cast in 2005.

In recent months, Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, have suggested they want an actor who could be in place for more than a decade. Wilson, in particular, has tossed out the idea that the next Bond actor should be in his early 30s.

Cavill now is 39. He may have aged out based on Eon’s recent comments.

Should Bond 26 be lighter? That’s a popular fan theory. And in many ways it makes sense. You’ve had five really, really serious Bond films with Craig as Bond. Maybe it’s time for a change in direction.

Personally, I wouldn’t go banco on that. Eon boss Barbara Broccoli seems pretty set in her ways. She has even suggested when Bond 26 gets to the scripting stage (whenever that happens) will begin with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

As usual, we’ll see.

Licence to Kill treatment: Boom!

Timothy Dalton

Continuing the blog’s look at a March 1988 treatment by Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson for Licence to Kill. The treatment was provided by Gary J. Firuta.

A shell “from a tank hits the bungalow and explodes, almost demolishing it,” the treatment says on page 40. “Evidently Kwang had been followed there.”

The treatment says General Rios, “in a command car with Sanchez, is directing an attack by regular Isthmus City troops on the bungalow.”

The attack is deadly. Rios sends troops inside. The roof has collapsed. Rios and Sanchez follow the troops inside.

“Kwang and Loti are still alive,” according to the treatment. “Rios hands Sanchez a revolver. He dispatches them with it.”

As in the final film, Bond is discovered, still alive.

“Rios lifts revolver to kill him,” Maibaum and Wilson write. “Sanchez stays his hand.”

“He tried to warn me,” Sanchez says.

The next morning, Bond awakens in a bedroom of the casino penthouse. Lupe is there.

“She tells him she prayed for him,” the treatment says. “And for herself, too.”

Soon, Sanchez enters with his personal physician, Dr. Mendez, who “wears a voluminous camel’s hair coat, a broad rimmed fedora and dark sunglasses.”

Mendez begins to examine Bond. Sanchez “expresses hit gratitude to Bond.”

“From now on they are hermanos,” according to the treatment. “And the East Coast territory might soon be his. They will discuss it when Bond has recovered.”

Sanchez instructs the doctor to give Bond a sedative “to knock him out for six hours.” After Sanchez exits the room, “he tells a man standing there to stay and keep an eye on Bond. It is Dario.”

Back in the room, Mendez is about to inject the sedative into Bond. But the agent “deftly snatches the needle” out of the doctor’s hand and injects him with it instead.

“The astounded Mendez pulls away, staggers a few feet and collapses.”

Dario’s suspicions are raised. He enters the room, his weapon drawn. Lupe is making the bed.

Dario pulls away the covers. Dr. Mendez is there. Bond gets into a fight with Dario. Eventually, Bond overcomes Dario. Bond tells Lupe “it is her last chance to get away from Sanchez and Krest.

“Will she come with him? She is still shaken but agrees.”

TO BE CONTINUED