Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bond Leaving MGM?

MGM Studios is out of money. This left two really big projects to possibly die, The Hobbit (two films) and the 007 franchise. It's being reported that the Hobbit films are secured. But where does that leave Bond? Fox?

Who will own James Bond?

Simon Brew

Could the keys to 007 be changing hands, and will James Bond be leaving MGM?

Published on Oct 7, 2009

Earlier in the week, we reported the news that MGM had staved off interest payments on its debt to allow it to stump up its half of the cash to press ahead with production on the two Hobbit movies, that Guillermo del Toro is set to direct. Its involvement in the project had been thrown into some doubt by the revelation that the studio's financiers were not best pleased with the level of debt that it was carrying, and the lack of any imminent incoming new project to help attack it. The lacklustre box office performance of the Fame remake has done little to help matters.

But while The Hobbit - in conjunction with the Warner Bros-owned New Line - is now safely funded, there's the small matter of the 007 franchise, which is arguably MGM's most lucrative. For much of the 90s, the only sniff of a hit that MGM had - outside of Hannibal and the Legally Blonde movies - was the succession of Bond movies that kept making more and more cash than the last. There's an argument that without 007 on board, there wouldn't have been much of an MGM left to even talk about.

Yet could MGM now be forced to sell its prized asset to help keep the boat afloat? Strong rumours at WeAreMovieGeeks suggest that it's doing a deal that would see the marketing and distribution for the next Bond movie, at the least, being handled by 20th Century Fox.

Fox, for the last two Bond films, has handled non-US work on the franchise as well as home DVD and Blu-ray distribution, and this broadening of the deal for at least the next project may just give MGM the breathing room it requires.

MGM will still be involved in the Bond saga, though, given its involvement in the production of the movie. And the next Bond movie is still being lined up for a release in 2011, once more with Daniel Craig on board.

If this turns out to be true, then the official announcement is reportedly due any day now. There certainly seems to be a strong whiff of credence to it all from where we're sitting...

WAMG Exclusive: Fox Acquiring James Bond Distribution

James Bond is finding a new home, and he’ll have Jedi and aliens to welcome him into the fold. For the last few weeks, movie goers have been curious as to what is going to become of some of MGM’s more prominent franchises. Over the last, couple of days, the company has entered into a forbearance agreement. The agreement expires in the middle of December, and, for now, ‘The Hobbit’ is safe and sound where it is. However, the company said nothing of the future of 007 adventures.

Well, fear not you shaken-not-stirred fanatics. A source close to the dealings has let We Are Movie Geeks know that Bond is alive and well, and will be settling into his new domicile for marketing and distribution at 20th Century Fox. That’s right, expect the official word to come out any day now, but it looks like ‘Bond 23′ is going to be running behind the Fox banner.

Sony, who acquired MGM in 2004, has run the last, two James Bond films, ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘Quantum of Solace’ through their own, Sony Pictures distribution and marketing company. Up until these, two films, Fox handled all home video and international marketing for MGM, so the transition to Fox for domestic releases for the Bond franchise from here on out should not be that difficult a move.

There is no word in what state this leaves ‘Bond 23,’ though, with MGM/Sony still backing the production side, this bit of news shouldn’t cause much if any kind of delay. The film is still tentatively scheduled for release in 2011.

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