SPECTRE may pass break-even point this weekend

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE may surpass the break-even point this weekend less than a month after its premiere.

Exhibitor Relations, which tracks movie box-office data said in a tweet that the 24th James Bond movie’s global box office “looks to top” the $670 million mark this weekend.

While only studio accountants know for sure, VARIETY ESTIMATED NOV. 4 that SPECTRE needed $650 million in worldwide box office to break even. Here’s an excerpt from that story:

With a price tag of $250 million, plus more than $100 million in marketing and promotion costs, industry executives predict that the picture will have to do $650 million to break even. That’s because “Spectre’s” backers, a group that includes Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer and Eon Productions, will have to split revenues with exhibitors. Fewer than 90 films have ever achieved that gross globally and only one other Bond film, “Skyfall,” has ever surpassed that mark.

Skyfall’s global box office was $1.11 billion. An estimate for SPECTRE’s third weekend in the U.S. and Canada will be released Sunday and the actual figure on Monday.

Here’s the tweet from Exhibitor Relations.

Business of Bond: MGM goes studio shopping

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

What studio will release the next 007 film?

Even as SPECTRE rolls out, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is gearing up its search for the next James Bond distribution deal, according to stories in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and DEADLINE: HOLLYWOOD.

Sony Pictures has released the last four 007 films, going back to 2006’s Casino Royale. That deal runs out with SPECTRE.

Here’s an excerpt from the Journal’s story by Ben Fritz:

Several studios are planning to pursue those (distribution) rights, according to people familiar with the matter, even though there is surprisingly little profit in releasing Bond films.

The Journal dug up a Sony document that saw the light of day because of last year’s computer hacking at the studio.

With Skyfall, which had worldwide box office of $1.11 billion, “Sony made just $57 million” on the the 2012 007 film, “a small sum for a movie with such a huge box-office performance,” according to the newspaper.

MGM made about $175 million while the co-bosses of Eon Productions, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, made about $109 million, the Journal reported, quoting the same document. MGM and Danjaq, Eon’s holding company, declined to comment to the Journal.

Sony’s take might be even less for SPECTRE, according to the newspaper.

In the same leaked document, a Sony executive projected that if “Spectre” were to cost $250 million to produce and repeat the same box office as “Skyfall,” Sony’s profit would be $38 million.

The budget for “Spectre” is just under $250 million, said a person close to the movie, compared with $209 million for “Skyfall.”

MGM and the Wilson-Broccoli clan co-own the Bond franchise. MGM got its share after it acquired United Artists in the early 1980s. UA, in turn, acquired its stake in Bond when Eon co-founder Harry Saltzman sold it in 1975 because of financial problems.

Despite the relatively small return, other studios are expected to seek to displace Sony as MGM’s 007 distributor.

“Here’s what we hear,” Deadline’s Anity Busch and Mike Fleming Jr. wrote. “007 rights gatekeepers (MGM CEO Gary) Barber, and Wilson and Broccoli, will wait until Spectre plays around the world and accumulates an ungodly global gross that will only strengthen their leverage. And then, early next year, they will make the best deal. If that means bidding farewell to Sony, so be it.”

The Deadline Hollywood story does some handicapping about the prospects for different studios striking a deal with MGM. Busch and Fleming, in particular, play up Warner Bros. as a 007 distribution contender.

The duo write “a source sighted” MGM’s Barber and Warners chief “Kevin Tsujihara at the Montage Hotel recently…According to our source, the chatter seemed more intense than a meet and greet. It looked like they were throwing around numbers. Not surprisingly, Warner Bros has been oft mentioned as the most aggressive in this hunt.”

To read the entire Wall Street Journal story, CLICK HERE. To read the Deadline: Hollywood story, CLICK HERE.

Reading between the lines of THR’s story on MGM and Sony

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

The Hollywood Reporter has A STORY BY GREGG KILDAY examining whether Sony Pictures will no longer release 007 films after SPECTRE. But the story has some other interesting data as well.

Sony has released all four Bond films of the Daniel Craig era, but its current two-film deal expires with SPECTRE. Here’s a look at some of the other side issues raised in the story.

SPECTRE’s budget: Kilday quotes sources he doesn’t identify as insisting “that the final net budget now stands in the neighborhood of $250 million.”

It’s known, thanks to the Sony hacks, that SPECTRE spending was on track to reach around $350 million. The Hollywood Reporter story suggests that production placement and similar deals (such as the subsidies Mexico paid out to the production) helped bring in about $100 million to offset a substantial portion of those costs.

Mind games between studios: There’s also an anecdote in the story about some mind games between Sony and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the studio that controls half of the Bond franchise along with the Broccoli-Wilson family.

According to the story, MGM told Sony in June 2013 if it wanted its name in a press release announcing the release date of the then-untitled movie, Sony had “to opt in immediately.” At the time, there was no firm budget but Sony was being pressed to commit anyway, THR says. (Not mentioned in the story: there wasn’t even a first-draft script. That wasn’t submitted by initial writer John Logan until March 2014.)

The release was issued in JULY 2013.It had this joint quote from Sony executives Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal: “It’s a privilege to work on the Bond films. EON, John Logan and Sam Mendes have come up with an extraordinary follow up to SKYFALL and we, along with our partners at MGM, can’t wait to share this new chapter with audiences all over the world.”

Subsequently, Logan was replaced writing the movie and Pascal was fired after bad publicity from the Sony hacks.

To read the entire Hollywood Reporter story, CLICK HERE.

Caveat Emptor (Cont.): NY Post says Craig told to shut up

SPECTRE poster

SPECTRE poster

The PAGE SIX GOSSIP PAGE of Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post tabloid newspaper says that 007 star Daniel Craig “has been told to shut up by execs at Sony.”

This follows the interview Craig gave Time Out London that was published last week.

In that interview, done a few days after the upcoming SPECTRE, had finished production, Craig was asked if he could imagine doing another 007 movie.

“I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists,” he told Time Out London. “No, not at the moment. Not at all. That’s fine. I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”

Here’s an excerpt from the New York Post story:

Bond insiders said Craig’s cranky outburst to Time Out London was brought on by the tough shoot for the latest 007 installment.

One source said, “They had problems initially with the script, Craig was injured on the set and needed knee surgery, and they were still doing re-shoots last month, even though the movie is out in weeks.

Sony Pictures has released the last four 007 films, including SPECTRE. Computer hacks at the studio last year caused details of the 24th 007 film to become public, including versions of the movie’s script.

Meanwhile, the New York Post has a reputation similar to British tabloid newspapers. So, yet again, the caveat emptor label — let the buyer beware — applies. Take it for what it’s worth.

Some questions about Daniel Craig’s SPECTRE interview

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, has its premiere later this month. So it’s time to explore new questions about the 007 movie.

Was Time Out London’s interview with Daniel Craig good P.R. or bad P.R.? 

That depends on your public relations philosophy.

Come again?

The classic public relations philosophy stems from a George M. Cohan quote: “I don’t care what you say about me as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right.”

By that standard, Craig’s interview with Tine Out London was a spectacular success.

How so?

The 007 actor’s quotes to Time Out (“I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists” than make another Bond movie, and “If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money,” among others) were summarized widely.

Among other outlets, VARIETY, ITV,  NBC NEWS,  THE TELEGRAPH, THE DAILY BEAST, THE INDEPENDENT, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and many, many others had stories based on the quotes from Time Out London.

If George M. Cohan were still alive (he died in 1942), he would marvel at how right he was.

Are you saying this was really planned?

Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. Nevertheless, the Time Out London interview was done a few days after SPECTRE wrapped principal photography.

Often these types of interviews are done under embargo. That is, the interviews occur with the understanding the resulting stories won’t be released until shortly before a movie is released — often with a specific date and time for release.

Put another way, the major parties responsible for SPECTRE — Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures — shouldn’t be surprised these quotes were coming. Interviews with stars for major movies, generally speaking, are done under very controlled circumstances.

Often such interviews are done with a public relations person sitting in on it. Even if it didn’t happen in this case, Eon, MGM and Sony know the star, know what he often says in interviews. If they weren’t prepared, well, they probably should have been.

Final SPECTRE trailer is released

Sony Pictures today posted this 1:15 trailer for SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film.

There are a few shots not seen in previous trailers, including Bond (Daniel Craig) scrambling to avoid falling wreckage.

Presumably, this version is intended for U.S. audiences because it lists a Nov. 6 release date. The U.K. and Ireland will be able to see the movie later this month.

Take a look for yourself:

Quick recap of Eon non-007 projects

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, co-bosses of Eon Productions

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon Productions

It’s not easy to get a movie made. Studios make fewer and more expensive films.

Even when producers with a good box office record aren’t guaranteed of seeing their projects become reality. That includes Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the co-chiefs of Eon Productions, which makes James Bond films.

The Eon leaders have been working on a number of film projects away from the world of James Bond, even as it continued work on the 007 film series.

Here’s a list of Eon projects that have been formally announced but are still in development.

Remake of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: Referenced in this APRIL 2009 PRESS RELEASE issued by Sony Pictures.

The 1968 film musical, based on an Ian Fleming novel for children, was the final non-007 movie produced by Albert R. Broccoli co-founder of Eon Productions. Technically, it wasn’t made by Eon Productions but another Broccoli production company, Warfield. The movie’s crew included a number of 007 film series veterans.

Dana Broccoli, widow of Albert R. Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli produced a London stage production that opened in 2002. A Broadway production opened in 2005.

So, Sony, following the release of 2008’s Quantum of Solace, announced that the studio was developing a new film musical to be produced by Eon.

Film adaptation of REMOTE CONTROL NOVEL: The main subject of the same APRIL 2009 PRESS RELEASE. 

Here’s how the press release began:

CULVER CITY, Calif., April 14 /PRNewswire/ — Building on their successful collaboration on the two most recent and highest grossing James Bond adventures in the history of the franchise, Sony Pictures Entertainment has acquired the motion picture rights to REMOTE CONTROL, a thriller novel by Mark Burnell, to be produced as a feature film by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli’s Eon Productions, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures. Ileen Maisel will join Wilson and Broccoli in producing the project. Burnell will adapt his novel into the screenplay.

Edward Snowden movie: Announced in May 2014 and reported widely, including this REUTERS STORY that appeared in The Huffington Post.

Sony acquired the film rights to a book by journalist Glenn Greenwald. The studio said Eon Productions would produce the movie, and that Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli would be producers.

A competing Snowden movie, simply titled Snowden and directed by Oliver Stone, and is scheduled to be released on Dec. 25. The Stone movie is based on two other books.

Eon has worked with Sony for the past decade. Sony’s Columbia Pictures has released the last four Bond films, including SPECTRE, due out this fall. Sony’s contract to release the 007 series expires with SPECTRE. Also, Sony executive Amy Pascal was forced out of her job earlier this year following controversies related to last year’s hacking at Sony. Whether any of that affects these projects isn’t clear.



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