Who owns the rights to James Bond? Effect of the Amazon-MGM Agreement on the Franchise


James Bond, meet How Much Does Jeff Bezos Make A Second ?. After Amazon.com Inc agreed to buy the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie studio for $ 8.45 billion earlier this year, many fans speculated that the e-commerce giant owns the full rights to the James Bond franchise.

But the long-running spy film series – set to continue with its 25th film, No time to die, Oct. 8 – is only half owned by Amazon.

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According to The New York Times, the other half is owned by Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, through their shingle Eon Productions.

In fact, Broccoli and Wilson have “rock-solid” creative control over the franchise, the newspaper reports. The duo decide when a new James Bond movie is set, whether any remakes or TV spinoffs are to take place, and who takes on the iconic spy role.

Source: Getty Images

Michael G Wilson, Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli.

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And, as if to allay concerns that future James Bond installments would not air on Amazon Prime until after the company’s MGM deal, Broccoli and Wilson said in a statement to Variety in May that they had “pledged to continue making James Bond films for theatrical audiences worldwide.”

Amazon’s oversight of the franchise has raised some concerns.

Daniel Craig and Lashana Lynch in

Writer John Logan – who co-wrote the two most recent James Bond films, 2012 Fall from the sky and 2015 Spectrum – wrote a New York Times opinion on the Amazon-MGM deal in May, saying he was concerned about Amazon’s influence on 007.

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“It’s not that it’s a bad faith business. It’s because it’s a global technology company with a market capitalization of over $ 1.6 trillion that produces at scale and is obsessed with ‘the customer experience’, ”John wrote. “He is not necessarily a champion or guardian of artistic creativity or original entertainment.”

He clarified: “The Bond films are truly the most bespoke and handcrafted films I have ever worked on. This is why they are original, thorny, eccentric and special. They were never created with lawyers, accountants, and e-commerce mass marketing pollsters hovering in the background.

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Broccoli and Wilson will have to think about James Bond’s future, but that won’t include Amazon’s TV shows.

No time to die marks Daniel Craig’s latest film as James Bond, which means Broccoli and Wilson will have to decide where the franchise is going next. “I think we really want to celebrate that and celebrate Daniel and then when the dust settles let’s look at the scenery and find out what the future is,” said Broccoli. Total movie in a recent interview.

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But don’t expect a James Bond TV show to hit Amazon’s Prime Video service anytime soon: Broccoli and Wilson have no plans to bring 007 to the small screen. “We make films,” Broccoli argued. “We make films for the cinema. This is what we do.”

Wilson added, “We have resisted this call for 60 years.”

Public interest groups have called on the FTC to prevent Amazon from buying MGM.

On August 31, thirty-four groups, including the Writers Guild of America West, the Main Street Alliance and the National Employment Law Project, sent a letter asking the Federal Trade Commission to block the Amazon-MGM deal, by Deadline.

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“This acquisition is not just a one-time deal for streaming content; this is the latest move in Amazon’s comprehensive strategy to create many interconnected points of domination over businesses and consumers, ”the groups wrote in the letter to FTC President Lina Khan.

After exposing their grievances over Amazon, the groups argued that the company’s “unfettered expansion and domination” threatens the “dynamism and success” of the US economy.

“The proposed acquisition of MGM would give an already abusive monopoly even more weapons to use against consumers, businesses and workers,” they added.


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