Why Bond 25 may not do much economizing

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

One question about Bond 25 is whether its budget may get trimmed. 2015’s SPECTRE was the most expensive 007 film adventure, with an estimated $245 million budget including Mexican tax credits and product placement deals.

While it’s too early to say definitively, there are signs that Bond 25 won’t exactly fly economy class.

Craig’s reported paycheck: Earlier this month, Variety reported that star Daniel Craig is set for a $25 million payday from his fifth Bond film. It was the highest amount in a survey of actor compensation by the trade publication.

If correct, that makes it harder to drastically cut the budget. For example, if you wanted to cut Bond 25’s outlay to $100 million to $150 million, Craig’s pay would mean you could only spend $75 million to $125 million for the rest of the film.

Boyle’s change of attitude: Director Danny Boyle has a reputation for making very lean, small-scale films. Some fans on internet message boards have speculated Boyle in Bond 25’s director chair could mean a less epic, leaner 007 outing.

Not so fast.

This week, Boyle spoke at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Here’s an excerpt from a story about the talk on LIPA’s website.

Danny says, at first, he wasn’t sure he was the right person for the job (for Bond 25). “I like watching big films but I don’t think I’m necessarily good at making them. Then I thought ‘no, you shouldn’t think like that’.”

Working with long-time collaborator, writer John Hodge, Danny explained why he accepted. “We have this idea about what we want to do with Bond and I felt we should have a go because of this idea. So we are trying to stay true to our principles.” (emphasis added)

It sounds, at the very least, Boyle may be more than willing to have a go at an epic-like film.

Broccoli’s ambitions: The Screen Daily website this week ran a story about how Universal became the international distributor for Bond 25. There was this passage:

“(Eon Productions boss) Barbara Broccoli wants a one billion dollar international gross,” says one industry expert, noting that international box office accounts for the bulk of Bond films’ global theatrical revenues. No 007 release has ever achieved this, and Universal knows a thing or two about getting to the hallowed milestone. Of only seven films to cross $1bn at the international box office, Universal has released three, and it has done so in the last three years: Furious 7 and Jurassic World in 2015, and Fate Of The Furious in 2017.

Only one Bond film surpassed $1 billion globally. 2012’s Skyfall had $304.4 million in the U.S. and $804.2 million internationally. SPECTRE slipped to $200 million in the U.S. and $680.6 million internationally.

To achieve that $1 billion international mark, Bond 25 would have to generate more than 45 percent more box office compared with SPECTRE. Higher ticket prices will help some. But if Broccoli really wants $1 billion, excluding the U.S. market, Bond is going to have to ramp things up.

What’s more, if Broccoli really is seeking $1 billion internationally, that generally means mounting a big-scale production. Marvel Studios filmed two Avengers movies back to back, Avengers: Infinity War, released in late April and the yet-to-titled Avengers 4, due out next year.

It’s been estimated the combined cost of the two movies may reach as much as $1 billion. Avengers: Infinity War has been a big hit (global box office of $1.9 billion so far).

Big risks, big rewards. If the expert quoted by Screen Daily is correct (and the website didn’t identify him or her), that may mean that Bond 25 may be a more high stakes game than anything 007 encountered in a novel or movie scene.

Two 007 facts amid the speculation

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

What follows are two 007-related facts. They don’t necessarily connect to one another.

On the other hand, you see so much on social media, we thought we’d mention them, for what they’re worth.

–It’s Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s choice, not Eon Productions’, what studio will distribute Bond 25.

That’s not this blog talking. It’s Michael G. Wilson, Eon’s co-boss. He gave an interview late last year portions of which are on YouTube.

“It’s not primarily our decision,” Wilson said. “MGM will…it’s their responsibility.” Wilson said, at the time. He also said that Eon had met with studios (he didn’t specify which ones) which were interested in releasing Bond 25 for MGM.

Sony Pictures has released the last four 007 films but its most recent two-picture deal expired with SPECTRE.

–Barbara Broccoli’s current non-Bond film has a relatively short filming schedule. 

According to the Screen Daily website, the Eon co-boss’ drama, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, is scheduled to wrap filming on Aug. 8. Principal photography began in late June and is based at stages that are part of an expansion at Pinewood Studios.

A producer’s job, of course, doesn’t end with filming. A producer oversees various post-production tasks — editing, sound work, music, etc.

Meanwhile, Screen Daily also refers to the movie as a “passion project” of Broccoli’s. The movie is based upon the memoirs of British actor Peter Turner, who had a relationship with American actress Gloria Grahame. Broccoli acquired the film rights more than 20 years ago, according to Screen Daily.

At the same time, Eon has various other pending non-007 projects. So, there’s no telling how many will take up Broccoli’s time before she turns her attention to Bond 25.

 

U.N.C.L.E. movie supposedly gearing up in the U.K.

"What do you think about that, Illya? We never got more than 30 miles away from Culver City."

“What do you think about that, Illya? We never got more than 30 miles away from Culver City.”

A movie version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is supposedly gearing up at the same studio complex where GoldenEye, the 17th James Bond film, was filmed.

The Screen Daily Web site has AN ARTICLE about how U.K. film studios are being booked with work, helped by a new tax credit. Here’s an excerpt:

Over at the Warner Bros Studios Leavesden, the Wachowskis are shooting Jupiter Ascending. Rush director Ron Howard has exchanged Formula 1 cars for the world of whale hunting with his new feature In The Heart Of The Sea. Meanwhile, The Man From UNCLE is also revving up at Leavesden.

The Leavesden studio is a former Rolls-Royce PLC factory. It was turned into a studio for 1995’s GoldenEye when Pinewood Studios, the traditional home of the 007 film series, was fully booked. Warner Bros. acquired the studio in 2010 as a European base of operations.

The Screen Daily article doesn’t have any more details about the U.N.C.L.E. project. The story mostly details how other major projects, including a new Star Wars film and The Avengers 2 may be filmed in the U.K.

The original 1964-68 U.N.C.L.E. series, starring Robert Vaughn and David McCallum, was filmed at the old Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in Culver City, California, and the show never ventured more than about 30 miles away.

More signs Bond 24 won’t be out until at least 2015

When will Daniel Craig's 007 return?

When will Daniel Craig’s 007 return?

This is just a guess, but there seem to be more signs that Bond 24 won’t appear in theaters until at least 2015.

First, the co-bosses of Eon Productions, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli have gotten involved in another film project, according to THE SCREEN DAILY WEB SITE. Here’s an excerpt:

EXCLUSIVE: Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson to exec-produce love story starring Andrea Riseborough and Damian Lewis, due to get underway this summer.

Oblivion and Shadowdancer star Andrea Riseborough is to star alongside Homeland’s Damian Lewis in love story The Silent Storm, which WestEnd will be presenting to buyers in Cannes.

(snip)
James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of Eon Productions will executive produce and finance the drama, which is produced by Moon co-producer Nicky Bentham of Neon Films….Principal photography is due to get underway this summer in Scotland.

Tea leaf No. 2, courtesy of THE MI6 FAN WEB SITE, is a story that has this quote from actor Ben Whishaw, who played the young Q in Skyfall: “More Bond, but we don’t even know when that’s going to happen, you never know…I’ve heard some things, but I can’t share. I thought it might be the end of this year but I’m not sure anymore.”

Finally, what wasn’t said by Gary Barber, the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Eon’s partner in the Bond movies. In November, he told investors the company hoped Bond 24 could come out in two years but he’d settle for three years. He also disclosed that John Logan, a writer on Skyfall, would write Bond 24 and Bond 25. In early 2013, Barber said Bond 24 would be out within three years. If taken literally, that could mean as late as 2016.

This week, Barber said nothing about Bond 24. At the same time, no investors asked, unlike the two previous quarterly earnings calls.

Nothing is certain. Still, both Broccoli and Wilson have publicly said they don’t want to be compelled to meet an every-other-year schedule. (Here’s ONE EXAMPLE FROM THE LOS ANGELES TIMES.)

MGM, back when it was in bankruptcy three years ago, said having Bond movies out every other year was a major part of its reorganization plan. These days, the company isn’t talking about the subject much anymore.

Maybe things will change. But with no director signed, or even publicly talked about, the clock is slowly ticking on a 2014 James Bond film. Skyfall was announced in JANUARY 2011 and filming began 10 months later. It’s less than seven-and-a-half months until the start of 2014, about the time production would start for a November 2014 release.

MARCH 2013 POST: Why we guess Bond 24 won’t be out until at least 2015