Fight for rights to distribute Bond films

NEW YORK • It is a reliable licence to make a killing at the box office, so a bevy of suitors are now in hot pursuit of the distribution rights for the movies starring Agent 007.

The companies slugging it out are Apple, Amazon, Warner, Sony, MGM, Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox. Amazon and Apple are willing to pay about the same amount for the rights as Warner, Hollywood Reporter said, citing sources. It did not give a figure.

The Bond franchise is worth between US$2 billion (S$2.7 billion) and US$5 billion, an industry insider said.

Sony previously owned the distribution rights, but they expired with the 2015 release of the latest Bond film, Spectre. That movie took in about US$880 million at the global box office, film tracker BoxOfficeMojo.com said.

James Bond, created by British author Ian Fleming, first burst onto the screen in 1962 in the hit Dr No.

Daniel Craig has recently confirmed that he will be back to portray the agent in the latest Bond instalment, whose plot reportedly revolves around 007 going after the murderers of his wife.

Amazon has been spending billions of dollars to create and license television shows and films.

Earlier this year, company unit Amazon Studios scored a Best Actor Oscar for Casey Affleck's portrayal of a grieving man in Manchester By The Sea (2016).

Apple, which is relatively new to the world of original content, began a long-awaited move to TV in June with a reality show called Planet Of The Apps, where software-makers pitch their ideas.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2017, with the headline 'Fight for rights to distribute Bond films'. Print Edition | Subscribe