Amazon to buy MGM

ChriscoopChriscoop Belize Posts: 10,435MI6 Agent

I heard on the business news today that Amazon are officially in talks to buy MGM for a quoted 9 billion dollars. I wonder if that would mean eon get any say in what happens with MGM Bond titles ? Nothing is guaranteed at the moment but surely Bond is a big pull for Amazon could this also mean a myriad of Bond off shoot programmes and the creation of a Bondverse and extended Bondverse ? https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.reuters.com/technology/amazon-talks-buy-mgm-movie-studio-information-2021-05-17/&ved=2ahUKEwjKj5mhlNPwAhVKyaQKHRVDDdsQFjAnegQIKBAC&usg=AOvVaw1QuXGkggXQa4tgHGsj5FK7

It was either that.....or the priesthood
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  • PPK 7.65mmPPK 7.65mm Saratoga Springs NY USAPosts: 1,101MI6 Agent

    Only time will tell, not to sure if Bond needs a whole universe like Star Wars/ DC comics/ Marvel comics. Some more casual viewers are a bit worn out of universes for entertainment properties. I have a feeling that EON productions will still have a final say on all things James Bond. After all, No Time To Die is being distributed by two different companies, Universal in the US and another one overseas.

  • superadosuperado Regent's Park West (CaliforniaPosts: 2,559MI6 Agent

    I’d like to suddenly see breaking news that NTTD will premiere on Amazon Prime effectively immediately after the sale goes through!

    "...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....
  • HardyboyHardyboy Posts: 5,757Chief of Staff

    Well, I'm a Prime member, so if I get first crack at NTTD, bring it on!

    Vox clamantis in deserto
  • ChriscoopChriscoop Belize Posts: 10,435MI6 Agent

    I'd appreciate the film's being available as I'm a prime member also, but I suspect Amazon would want to squeeze as much revenue out of the Bond brand as possible, Eon seem to be not massively invested these days, at least not as much as they were years ago.

    It was either that.....or the priesthood
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,298MI6 Agent
    edited May 22

    I saw this Variety article today, arguing the MGM to amazon sale may be complicated by overvaluation of the Bond franchise and the unusual creative control EON has over their product. some of these quotes should be of interest to us


    Variety said:

    Industry insiders ... are skeptical that MGM’s prize asset, its stake in the 007 franchise, can be properly monetized.

    That’s because of the unprecedented creative control that’s held by Eon Productions and its owner the Broccoli family, who have been stewards of the film series dating back to Bond’s first on-screen appearance in 1962’s “Dr. No.” Under a deal first hammered out by Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, MGM has the right to finance and distribute all of the Bond movies and splits the profits with EON. However, Broccoli’s heirs and Eon’s chiefs, Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson, still have final say on everything from the film’s marketing and distribution plans to whoever will slip into Bond’s tuxedo when Daniel Craig hangs up the role.

    Insiders believe that Broccoli and Wilson would likely nix any plans to debut Bond films on Amazon’s streaming service Prime Video and would insist on a theatrical release, as is their contractual right. That was a key stumbling block when MGM briefly floated the possibility of selling the COVID-delayed Bond sequel “No Time to Die” to Apple for north of $600 million. The producers have also been resistant to have Bond pop up in spinoffs or television shows, the kinds of ancillary properties that could prove highly lucrative. Moreover, the films have been heavily licensed to cable networks and streaming platforms, which could complicate matters.

    “If Barbara isn’t on board with this, things could be very difficult,” says an executive who has worked on Bond films.

    Moreover, the franchise is in transition. Craig is leaving the role after five films and there is real concern that his hard-living womanizer character may not have as much resonance with younger generations. That’s problematic given that much of the value of MGM is banked on Bond continuing to seduce audiences for years to come.

    I gotta say this unusual creative control gives me hope that Babs'n'Mike will continue to take good care of their Bond franchise, and makes me more fearful of what exactly Amazon or any other communications giant would do with the series if they got ahold it of it. The decision to hold out for a cinematic release of the new film and not branch out into spin-offs seem to be responsible choices made specifically by Cubby's heirs, that the corporate overlords would have chose differently. But hopefully Babs'n'Mike're not so protective they stop make new films altogether.

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,099MI6 Agent
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    Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton
  • CheverianCheverian Posts: 1,114MI6 Agent

    I've read some contradictory things here about what this means for Eon and for NTTD. Can someone with specific knowledge of Eon's deal with MGM speak to the possibility of the sale?

  • DavidJonesDavidJones BermondseyPosts: 229MI6 Agent
    edited May 24


    I wouldn't be at all surprised if Barbara decides to sell Eon's half of the rights. In fact, I'm rather hoping that happens. It would mean the films would come out quicker, instead of just twice a decade. These films are a massive undertaking for a mere production company, and the long gaps between them might suggest a lack of enthusiasm for continuing. Eon were running out of steam until CR, and it gave them a shot in the arm, but such energy may have dissipated by now. It would be understandable, therefore, if they'd prefer to focus on small films, such as Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool. I can see how a change of scale and genre would seem like a breath of fresh air.

    The Bond brand itself, meanwhile, is at risk of being ignored by younger generations. The films are seen as 'dad movies'. An Amazon acquisition would lead to spin-offs, yes, but they might well be sensible ones. For example, adaptations of the Young James Bond novels (probable after Netflix's success with their Enola Holmes adaptation), which might tie in with a prequel series centered on M, perhaps involving a mixture of espionage and naval operations. After all, there's a television series based around Batman's butler, and that preposterous idea hasn't harmed the Batman property. Such a thing would get people's attention. I feel like IPs need a consistent presence in the marketplace if they are to survive. That's how Marvel fans are kept engaged. The studio doesn't relax it's grip for too long. Their projects feel almost like living things as they're evolving all the time.

  • CheverianCheverian Posts: 1,114MI6 Agent
    edited May 25

    I went looking for more information about the arrangement between MGM and Eon, and the Variety article (mentioned above by Caractacus Potts) had details I hadn't seen before:

    My first thought upon reading this was that money can bulldoze away a lot of obstacles. But Bond is the Broccoli family business and without knowing how Michael and Babs are viewing their personal futures, we can't speculate on what they might do. Or rather, we'd be speculating out of our backsides.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,151MI6 Agent
    edited May 26

    I guess the regulator has to approve first; but now in terms of Bond, apart from maybe seeing the previous movies appear on Prime(!) we wait until after NTTD has come out, I would expect.

  • CheverianCheverian Posts: 1,114MI6 Agent

    And with the catalog, there will be streaming agreements in place with other services that have end dates that will need to be honored. I wonder if those have exclusivity clauses? If not, yes, Bond should be coming to Prime soon.

    Bezos is such a quintessential Bond villain, it's ironic that he now controls the franchise.

  • ChriscoopChriscoop Belize Posts: 10,435MI6 Agent

    Confirmed, sold for 8.5 billion !

    It was either that.....or the priesthood
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 31,077Chief of Staff

    May we live in interesting times. I suppose all we can do is wait and see.

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,099MI6 Agent

    Oh nice...MGM owned THE APPRENTICE. That means that Bezos now has access to all of that behind the scenes footage of his nemesis, Donald Trump. This should be fun.

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    Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 1,104MI6 Agent
    edited May 26

    We do indeed, @Barbel

    While we are worried about the likelihood of Bond spin-offs and streaming services etc, there is a whole world out there which I have a distinct dislike to, but which is coming to my door and through my broadband every single day. Mike Hopkins talks a good game, but if a franchise evolves from an artist's intellectual property without his input, how much of it remains his intellectual property? I guess you could say Ian Fleming opened that door when he signed the cinematic rights over to EoN, but while I'd enjoy a return to seeing a Bond movie every 2 - 3 years, I wouldn't want one every six months or one infested with garish villains, backstories, alternative-multi-universe explanations, impossible outcomes, ridiculous fight scenes and stunts - the series has already trod this tightrope already and it's got me down. Amazon, well, I suppose if they want to pay the money they get to buy the golden goose and keep the eggs. Shame, but we'll just have to see.

    From The Guardian online:

    “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of intellectual property in the deep catalogue that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice-president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

    Amazon spent $11bn on content last year, up from $7.8bn in 2019, as it invests increasingly heavily into winning subscribers to its Prime subscription service. Amazon is vying for global streaming supremacy with Netflix, which has more than 200m subscribers, and Disney+, which in the 18 months since its launch has rapidly grown to more than 100m subscribers.

    Four years ago, Amazon splashed out $1bn on the rights to make six TV series in the world of Lord of the Rings after its founder, Jeff Bezos, reportedly cited Game of Thrones as the sort of hit he wanted to be produced to drive the growth of the company’s streaming service.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,151MI6 Agent
    edited May 26

    Yes I think NTTD is set to go to Paramount Plus for home streaming, whatever that is, so I guess it's unlikely to go to Prime straight off the bat in the US at least. Distribution deals for NTTD have probably been long tied-up and agreed upon. But these things seem to change right down to the last minute.


    As to the Bond catalogue appearing on Prime; if it can happen it will probably happen within days, although even there there's probably all sorts of complications we don't know about. Did you know the Craig films have a different ownership situation to the pre-Craigs? I think Columbia part owns those four films whereas it doesn't with the first 20.


    Basically I don't think the sky is falling because of this (it's not exactly the first time Bond has been through this) but I don't think it's the end of all of our problems because it's hard to know exactly what this means. Eon are still making the films, Bond hasn't been sold off, so in the short term I doubt we'll notice much of anything, most likely nothing until after NTTD has released anyway.

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,099MI6 Agent

    From what I understand, regardless of ownership of the studio, EON still has complete control of the character and the IP in general. Amazon can try and dictate terms of distribution and so forth but I don't think they can tell EON what to do with Bond. They can strongly suggest, of course...

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    Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton
  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,099MI6 Agent

    And here's your line in the sand by EON: NTTD is going theatrical.

    https://variety.com/2021/film/global/james-bond-amazon-mgm-barbara-broccoli-1234982158/

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    Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton
  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,151MI6 Agent

    Sony seemed to have input into Spectre judging by those emails that leaked (although I didn't read any of them) so I guess Amazon/MGM have the same level of input.

  • CheverianCheverian Posts: 1,114MI6 Agent

    Much of the attention in the press coverage suggests that Eon pulls all the strings, and as far as the biggest creative decisions go, that seems true from my layman's reading. But 50% control is not 51% control.

    Bezos has built a net worth of 188.2 billion USD by playing long games and knowing when and how to exert maximum leverage. For Babs and Michael there's a big difference between dealing with know-nothing Hollywood execs and facing down the world's richest man whose impact on American life has been arguably as profound as that of Henry Ford.

    What it means for Bond, I know no idea. But I refuse to believe Bezos doesn't have a plan aimed at squeezing more money out of the franchise by working around Eon's sweet contract.

  • ChriscoopChriscoop Belize Posts: 10,435MI6 Agent

    What with the whole "public domain" thing happening in the not too distant future or in Europe 2035, and having already happened in some countries like Canada surely the intellectual rights value diminishes ? I mean at the rate eon are producing Bond Films they would be lucky to do 2 more before it becomes open season on Fleming's work, someone like Bezos may just see this as a perfect time to make Babs an offer too good to refuse ? Of course all this is simply conjecture, but gives food for thought and debate .

    It was either that.....or the priesthood
  • Number24Number24 NorwayPosts: 17,766MI6 Agent

    If this means more frequent Bond movies in the cinemas I'm all for it. EON staff will just have to accept not being allowed to go to the toilet outside the short lunch breaks.🤣

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,151MI6 Agent

    Danjaq have the trademark on James Bond 007 and most of the titles too. So if Fleming's Goldfinger does go out of copyright you will be able to adapt it into a movie, but if you use the character 'James Bond 007' or call it 'Goldfinger' Danjaq's lawyers will be knocking down your door! :)

  • GymkataGymkata Minnesota, USAPosts: 3,099MI6 Agent

    Coming soon: SILVERTOE

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    Bond rankings: Lazenby>Moore>Connery>Craig>Brosnan>Dalton
  • DavidJonesDavidJones BermondseyPosts: 229MI6 Agent


    I'm not disagreeing, but are you sure about that? If something's in the public domain, it's in the public domain, isn't it? It means anyone has the right to use the name, not just Eon. Similarly, it'd mean that anyone could write a Bond novel without IFP issuing a writ.

  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 2,298MI6 Agent

    Chriscoop said:

    What with the whole "public domain" thing happening in the not too distant future or in Europe 2035, and having already happened in some countries like Canada surely the intellectual rights value diminishes ? 

    the editors of Licence Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond (that's the Canadian short story anthology that took advantage of the lapse into Public Domain) were very careful to only use characters and concepts from Fleming, they said in the Intro they could not use ideas from the films. So I think somehow the intellectual property rights of Fleming and his heirs are distinct from what EON owns.

    That book seemed to go in and out of print very quick too, like they were taking advantage of a moment of uncertainty. I haven't noticed any other product since exploiting the alleged Public Domain status.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,151MI6 Agent

    Well here's one of their many trademarks on the name: https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tmcase/page/Results/1/UK00900251918

    Why would a trademark expire? Whether it appeared in a book or not wouldn't have any bearing, surely? Coca Cola is a trademarked name, just because it appeared in a book 70 years ago it doesn't mean you can make your own Coca Cola now. Unlike copyrights, trademarks don't expire if you continue to renew them.

    I'm not 100% sure about any of it as it's a murky and complicated world, but I can't see how the trademark on James Bond will ever expire unless it's allowed to.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,151MI6 Agent

    I suspect they were wrong about that and probably got a cease & desist, which is why it went out of print. Even Ian Fleming Publications themselves have to use the name 'James Bond' under licence from Danjaq (check the front pages of your Bond books).


    Here's one of the Canadian trademarks on Bond, owned by Danjaq.

  • emtiememtiem SurreyPosts: 4,151MI6 Agent

    This seems to be a list of trademarks owned by Danjaq (I don't know if it's all of them) but it's quite interesting that continuation novels like 'Devil May Care' and 'Hurricane Gold' are in there; I wonder how they got the trademark on those and not IFP? Or are IFP part of Danjaq or something?

    https://trademarks.ipo.gov.uk/ipo-tmowner/page/search?id=369756&domain=1&app=0&mark=UK00000908164

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