Shaken Not Stirred: JAMES BOND Is A Free Agent
James Bond is one of the most iconic movie franchises in cinema history and throughout its 50+ years of living on the big screens it has captured the fantasy of movie goers around the world. With that kind of staying power, especially as the attention span for dialogue and story development has dipped compared to even 20 years ago, we can see why the franchise has so many suitors lined up for a date or two. The relationship between Sony and James Bond has contractually expired which is why we have not seen the man who is the poster boy for martinis grace the big screen since Spectre in 2015.
Sony has been staggering to regain some footing after having an abysmal movie year in 2015, and seeing Spectre, the last James Bond movie, make $122 million less than its previous film in 2012 which made $322 million. For those with famished pockets, like myself, $322 million does not sound like a losing number but Spectre cost them $250 million to make not to mention the contract that Sony had as a distributor and marketer of the film as well placed sole financial burden on the company to cover these costs which came out just north of $100 million dollars.
So in total Sony spent $350 million plus, and then has to share the profits with MGM and EON Productions. Though there is a 50/50 split between Sony and MGM in production costs, the profit return to be shared was split 25/75; guess who was getting 25%. Now, this looks like a bad relationship that can only get worse, where one side is hemorrhaging money to fulfill the dreams of the other while seeing very little in return. This would seem to be the perfect time to walk away, save money and begin to rebuild as Spiderman: Homecoming is burning up fans in anticipation and may be the saving grace of Sony’s previous Marvel disasters. But, when we look a little closer at the list of upcoming movies for Sony we can see why they would choose to return to the James Bond fold.
It is not all selling your soul to the Devil kind of shady, if it was then the franchise would not have suitors like 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and the biggest fish of them all, Universal, standing in line for a shot. It was never the theater return that appealed to production companies as history has shown that though James Bond had the stability of a tree in the industry, it was never bearing much fruit. What makes the franchise sexy is not the money it brings back, but the endorsement deals that come crawling out the woodwork.
We are talking watches, cars, drinks, to clothes and games. With the on coming technology known as VR creeping its way to video game consoles, is it hard to see one based on you playing as 007 himself? Not to mention, the bragging rights to having one of the longest running film franchises in cinema history on your roster is something that has to be worth some gloating in the world of Hollywood.
It can be almost assumed that I want to see Sony keep its ace in the hole and continue being the vision behind the James Bond movies, but honestly I don’t have an opinion about what company should take it on, even if part of me wonders what a Christopher Nolan inspired James Bond movie could look like if Warner Bros. added it to their cache of films.
In the end, whether it becomes part of the Universal Studios family or becomes the jackpot of a smaller name like Annapurna Pictures, the way the James Bond story is told will only continue to evolve, but into what? We’ll have to wait until 007 comes back From Russia With Love. What? You had to know I was going to reference a film somewhere in here.
Source: NY Times