Sony shows new SPECTRE footage, THR says

SPECTRE LOGO

Sony Pictures showed some new footage from SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, at the CineEurope event according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Here’s an excerpt from the story as it relates to SPECTRE. Warning: There aren’t many details.

“Who can forget the last James Bond?” asked Sony Pictures president of marketing and distribution Josh Greenstein to the CineEurope crowds at the studio’s presentation on Wednesday.

Skyfall, as he pointed out, earned over $1 billion dollars, but to get the excitement rolling for the 24th 007, Spectre, he introduced Miss Moneypenny herself, Naomie Watts, to debut new unfinished footage that featured the entire top cast of Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes and Dave Bautista. “For your eyes only,” she told the assembled audience of EMEA exhibitors.

Presumably, The Hollywood Reporter meant Naomie Harris, rather than Watts, but that’s what the story says.

Users on Internet message boards have speculated this may mean a new SPECTRE trailer could be released soon.

So far, a teaser trailer has been released as well a one-minute commercial during ABC’s telecast of the NBA Finals.

A weird week (at least on the Internet) for SPECTRE

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This was an unusual week for SPECTRE. The marketing effort for the 24th James Bond film zigged one way but the Internet zagged in an entirely different direction.

The week began with a video blog showing behind-the-scenes footage during SPECTRE’s shoot in Mexico City back in March.

That’s understandable. The Mexico City sequence opens the film (the filmmakers have disclosed this, so it’s not a spoiler). It’s going to be expansive, so the short video sought to give the viewer an idea of that without giving any plot details away.

The Internet, however, refused to be gently guided in that direction. Bookmaker William Hill in the U.K. decided to alter its odds for the actor succeeds Daniel Craig as Bond. Craig said back in 2012 he was contracted for two films. That would mean he’s on board through Bond 25. That would indicate, there won’t be an actual vacancy until 2018 or so.

Nevertheless, the bookmaker moved actor Damian Lewis to 3-1, generating stories in familiar trade publications such as THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and VARIETY as well as outlets such as THE TELEGRAPH and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Even The Atlantic, which normally analyzes weighty and serious matters, DID A STORY that used the William Hill news as a news peg to also examine whether the next 007 should be black.

Referring to SPECTRE star Daniel Craig and his blonde hair and Lewis and his red hair, The Atlantic story concluded, “Ten years removed from his casting, the fuss about Craig seems ridiculous, and it’s hard to imagine a public outcry if Lewis really did sign on to the franchise. “But the same can’t be said for what could happen if the producers defied change-averse Brits to make a truly bold casting decision.”

In any case, Indiewire took the whole thing a step further. It asked readers to PARTICIPATE IN A SURVEY about who should be Craig’s successor. (Indiewire calls it a poll, but it’s not. An actual poll employs statistical methods in selecting its sample of respondents. This is just click on whoever you want to be 007.) Anyway, there were turn out the vote efforts by fans of potential future Bonds.

It’s probably safe to assume the folks at Eon Productions and their studio partners at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures are real happy about this turn of events.

MGM and Sony are ponying up $300 million or more and, no doubt, would rather have the public concentrate on the upcoming SPECTRE due out in November than the next re-casting of Bond, whenever that occurs. In the 21st Century, the Internet sometimes has a way of not cooperating with movie marketing.

Should 007 and Batman share the same cinema universe?

NOT an actual comic book cover

NOT an actual comic book cover

It was reported this week that Warner Bros. may be in a good position to replaced Sony Pictures as the studio that releases James Bond movies. That got some fans to wonder whether 007 and Batman (and Superman and the Justice League) could share the same cinema universe.

Necessary background: 007’s home studio is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. But, after emerging from bankruptcy, it’s a relatively small company and cuts deals with other studios to release its films.

Sony Pictures’ current two-picture deal with MGM for Bond expires once SPECTRE is released in November. Sony wants to strike a new deal, but the studio knows it’ll have competition for post-SPECTRE 007 projects.

Variety reported Warner Bros. is a leading contender because its executives have a good relationship with MGM’s top executive, Gary Barber.

Anyway, on THE SPY COMMAND’S FACEBOOK PAGE, a reader asked if Warners really does secure the 007 releasing deal whether Bond could be included in a planned two-part Warner Bros. Justice League movie, even if it’s just a cameo.

For the uninitiated, the Justice League is a group of DC Comics heroes, headed by Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. DC Comics has long been part of Warners’ parent company and the comic book company now is actually part of the studio. Next year’s Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice will help set up the even bigger Justice League project.

It seems like a stretch that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, the co-bosses of Eon Productions, would go along with such a concept. In AN INTERVIEW WITH COMING SOON.NET, Broccoli and Wilson did not warm up to the idea of Bond sharing a fictional universe with any other character.

Q: The notion of cinematic shared universes are increasingly popular in Hollywood these days. Any chance of seeing the Bond franchise go after something like that?

Broccoli: I think Bond lives in his own universe. I don’t think he wants to share it with anyone else.

Wilson: Like Bond and Mission: Impossible? I think that’s the stuff for comic books. More power to them.

Beyond the Eon leadership, there’s the question of 007 fans.

It’s hard to know how many, but — via Internet message boards and social media outlets — there are a lot of vocal 007 fans critical about “comic book movies.” For these fans, Bond is above that sort of thing. For them, “comic book movies” are glorified cartoons. Except, of course, when director Sam Mendes acknowledged that The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan, INFLUENCED 2012’s SKYFALL.

Humility is not part of the 007 fan’s DNA. Bond is the best. Any other spy entertainment that has been created since 1962 is merely a “James Bond knockoff.” Bond in the same universe as Batman and Superman, even if it came via a cameo? Untold billions of brain cells around the world would explode.

Meanwhile, a note about the illustration with this post. It APPEARED ON THIS WEBSITE. The actual cover The Brave and The Bold No. 110 LOOKED LIKE THIS.

UPDATE: Year of the Spy

Taken 3 poster

Taken 3 poster

Last December, we dubbed 2015 as the “Year of the Spy.” Here’s a quick update how things are going after five months.

Taken 3: Intended as the final of a trilogy with Liam Neeson as an ex-spy, Taken 3 got a lot of bad reviews. It had a $39.2 million opening weekend, according to BOX OFFICE MOJO. That was OK, but about $10 million less than Taken 2 in 2012.

As of June 1, Taken 3 had worldwide box office of $325.8 million, down from Taken 2’s $376.1 million. It particularly tailed off in the United States, with $89.3 million, compared with Taken 2’s $139.9 million. Perhaps it really “ends here,” as the movie’s advertising slogan said.

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Matthew Vaughn’s version of the Mark Millar-Dave Gibbons comic book generated worldwide box office of more than $400 million, including more than $275 million outside the United States. The movie had a reported $81 million budget.

THE WRAP ENTERTAINMENT NEWS WEBSITE reported in late April that was enough to start developing a sequel.

Spy: Not on our original preview list, the Melissa McCarthy comedy — where an analyst gets a chance to be an undercover agent — debuts Friday, June 5. As of June 1, PROBOXOFFICE.COM is projecting a $43 million opening weekend in the U.S.

Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation: Since December, the fifth Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible movie got a title and, more importantly, a new release date. Paramount moved up the M:I adventure to July 31 from Dec. 25.

If the tighter post-production schedule concerned anyone associated with the film, they’ve kept it to themselves. A teaser trailer has been out since March.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: Warner Bros. is beginning to ramp up publicity for Guy Ritchie’s much-different take on the 1964-68 television series. A teaser trailer debuted in February and a second trailer was at some U.S. theaters last weekend. Warners also had a big publicity event for the film in Rome last month. The movie comes out Aug. 14, just two weeks after Mission: Impossible.

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE teaser poster

SPECTRE: The 24th James Bond film still is filming, with principal photography to conclude later this month. There have been some bursts of publicity (in Rome and Mexico City during filming there).

The movie, with a budget exceeding $300 million, is on pace to be one of the most expensive of all time — costing about $50 million more than Avengers: Age of Ultron. If anybody’s actually worried about those figures (which became public because of hacking of documents at Sony Pictures last year), they’re keeping mum.

Despite the outlay, the parties involved will probably do OK, but the bigger budget could eat into profits. Then again, that’s a problem for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony, not movie goers, who’ll line up to see the movie in early November.

SPECTRE: What could have been

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No plot spoilers for the actual movie. If you think nothing should be written based on the Sony hack, stop reading now. No further warnings.

Now that WikiLeaks has set up a searchable index of hacked Sony documents, pretty much anybody with patience and an Internet connection can check out the pre-production of SPECTRE.

The Bleeding Cool website PUBLISHED A LONG POST based on the WiliLeaks material that contained a lot of spoilers and ideas considered, but rejected, for the movie. There have been other stories, SUCH AS THIS ONE concerning details of product placement deals.

The following doesn’t concern what’s in the movie — but could have had things gone differently.

October 2013, a SPECTRE outline arrives: Sony executives are mostly enthusiastic. There are multiple references to “love” this or “great hook” are among the responses.

“Love the idea that their is a mole in MI-6 and it turns out to be Tanner,” reads one of the reactions from the Sony camp.

Hard-core Bond fans — especially those who like Ian Fleming’s novels — might beg to differ. Bill Tanner, M’s chief of staff, was a friend to Bond in Fleming’s novels. In The Man With The Golden Gun book, Tanner asks M if he plans to bring charges against a brainwashed Bond for trying to kill him.

In the Golden Gun novel, when M informs Tanner he plans to send Bond on a suicide mission — to take out the novel’s title character — the chief of staff responds, “You coldhearted bastard!”

March 2014, first draft is delivered: There’s a more mixed reaction. Executives comment at events on various pages, while some visuals get praised.

Tanner is still a traitor. The villain, at this point, is an African, Joseph Ki-Embu, who uses a familiar Bond villain name as an alias. Felix Leiter, Bond’s CIA agent friend, also is in the mix.

May 2014: Amy Pascal, at the time one of Sony’s top movie executives, types up some reactions, including page-by-page notes.

Highlights: Bond is “rejected by two women by page 30.” Bond lets Tanner commit suicide on page 91. On page 122, Leiter calls Moneypenny a “foxy lady.”

Late June 2014: BAZ BAMIGBOYE OF THE DAILY MAIL reports that veteran 007 screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been brought back to rewrite the script by John Logan.

Jonathan Glickman, an executive of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which controls half of the 007 franchise, sends an e-mail to Sony executives. “Who spills the beans on this? P and W’s agents?” He’s also not happy with some John Cleese quotes in the Daily Mail story.

August 2014: There’s a debate because SPECTRE director “Sam Mendes is thinking about shooting 3 sequences in IMAX, a la (director Christopher) Nolan on Batman and Interstellar.” This will add $7 million to the movie’s budget. The same month, it’s decided that won’t happen. The three sequences will be shot “with full aperture, spherical lenses v. the rest of the pic which is anamorphic.”

Bleeding Cool discloses SPECTRE spoilers from WikiLeaks

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No spoilers in the text of the post, but obviously links to something full of spoilers.

That didn’t take long.

The Bleeding Cool website PUBLISHED A LONG POST extensively quoting from hacked Sony Pictures e-mails concerning SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film.

Bleeding Cool examined the e-mails after WiliLeaks published a searchable database of the material hacked from Sony last year. Sony will release SPECTRE in November, which is why the 007 material was included in the hack.

The Bleeding Cool post contains references to early script drafts by John Logan and later rewrites by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

Generally (and to phrase this in a non-spoiler way), the quoted e-mails give the reader how extensively the story changed. Some characters from earlier drafts disappear from later ones. There’s a lot of discussion from various executives about what the villains should be doing.

Even the title is spoiler-related (it concerns something from an earlier draft). So, if you click on the link above, just remember you can’t un-see what you read.

WikiLeaks publishes Sony hack data (no spoilers)

sonylogo

WikiLeaks, the group that has published leaked U.S. government documents, SAID IN AN APRIL 16 STATEMENT it has put more than 30,000 hacked Sony Pictures documents and more than 173,000 company e-mails into a searchable database.

The Sony documents first surfaced in November 2014. Part of the hacked documents concerned SPECTRE, the 24th James Bond film, which is being released by Sony this coming November. Stories were published in various media outlets at the time about the movie’s $300 million budget and details about its script. The hacked material also included personal information about Sony employees.

“Whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface,” the group said. WikiLeaks said the material should be in the public domain because Sony “is an influential corporation…with an ability to impact laws and policies.”

WikiLeaks said Sony is “a strong lobbyist on issues around internet policy, piracy, trade agreements and copyright issues. The emails show the back and forth on lobbying and political efforts.”

Sony, in a statement quoted by THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, criticized WikiLeaks.

“We vehemently disagree with WikiLeaks’ assertion that this material belongs in the public domain and will continue to fight for the safety, security, and privacy of our company and its more than 6,000 employees,” Sony said in the statement, according to THR.

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