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TOLDJA! MGM Makes Distribution Deal With Sony Pictures That Includes James Bond

Sony Pictures and MGM have finally announced the worst kept secret in Hollywood. They’ve reached an agreement that will return Sony Pictures to its role as distributor of the James Bond movies. Sony, along with studios like Warner Bros, Paramount and Fox, all engaged in talks with the reconstituted MGM on a deal that came at a hefty price. Deadline reported previously that MGM walked away with the right to be co-financier on several plum Sony films, including the David Fincher-directed The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, as well as others to be added to the mix, including the remake of Total Recall. The latter film might be particularly painful for Sony because sources tell us that MGM gets to distribute Total Recall in the highly valuable international TV market. This is considered a huge benefit to MGM in that it enhances the value of its international TV portfolio and robs Sony’s existing international TV partners of a title that is expected to be big overseas. Neither Sony nor MGM would comment on the horse-trading part of the deal.

Clearly, Sony wanted the Bond franchise back badly, and now Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton have brought 007 back into the fold. Deadline reported last summer that MGM was being reconstituted as a pure production play and shedding its distribution operation. That immediately put the studio’s most valuable title, 007, in play. Bidders began mobilizing before MGM made it out of bankruptcy. By January, several of the studios vying for Bond rights became increasingly frustrated by the attempts by MGM’s  new chiefs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum to leverage 007 distribution rights to get co-financing rights to plum projects at whatever studio won the deal. This came even after MGM had offered the villain role to Oscar-winner Javier Bardem, a courtship that is still going on (Anthony Hopkins has also been rumored as a potential participant on the evil side of the Bond dossier). Sony Pictures eventually got the upper hand and moved close to a deal in early February, after Sony threw co-fi rights to Dragon Tattoo and other titles into the pot. The announcement doesn’t deal with other MGM titles, but there are expected to be more that get distributed by Sony Pictures, which separately partnered with the studio on the Kevin James-starrer The Zookeeper. That film moved over to Sony when MGM went into deep freeze because of its crushing debt burden, and Sony moved it to the heart of the summer, with a July 8 release date. While Sony was winning that deal, rival suitors like Paramount (which has a strong relationship with Barber and Birnbaum over Star Trek) bristled at MGM’s asking price, plus a relatively low 8% distribution fee on the 007 film that Sam Mendes will direct and which Sony will release November 9, 2012, with Daniel Craig reprising. Here is the official announcement: Read More »

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Chris Nolan: “I’d Love To Do A Bond Film”

Sam Mendes & Daniel Craig Will Wait For James Bond

nolanUPDATE: Christopher Nolan has told the BBC that, to him, James Bond is one of the great characters in contemporary fiction. Speaking before last night’s world premiere of his much anticipated Inception in London, Nolan said that 007 is a huge influence on his mental heist thriller. “I’ve loved the Bond films since I was a kid. For me, they’re always about the expansiveness of cinema. The first Bond films set up infinite possibilities about the world they create. I’d love to do a Bond film.”

casinoroyale_danielcraigNolan also told the BBC that the James Bond movies had a strong influence on his new movie Inception, whose marketing campaign describes the pic as “James Bond meets The Matrix“. “The Bond influence on the film was very intentional because, for me, growing up with the Bond films — they’ve always stood for grand-scale action,” said Nolan who helmed The Dark Knight and Batman Begins. Like the Bond films, Inception was shot in various locations around the globe including Morocco, France, Japan and Canada.  Nolan said the Bond films had always “stood for the promise of being taken to some place bigger than you could have imagined” and added: “In dealing with the human mind and dreams, my mind naturally gravitates … Read More »

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STIRRED, NOT SHAKEN: Sam Mendes & Daniel Craig Will Wait For James Bond

Mike Fleming

james_bond1Reading these obits on James Bond, I think reports of 007′s motion picture demise because of MGM’s near-bankruptcy have been greatly exaggerated. Despite an article out of the UK that spread virally, insiders insist nothing tangible has happened. While Sony, Fox, and Warner Bros would love to grab the Eon Productions franchise, I’m told reliably that as long as MGM’s debt restructuring is preceded by a pre-packaged bankruptcy, Bond isn’t going anywhere. [UPDATE: “You are absolutely right, there is no new news. Development will resume once MGM is viable again, as Danjaq can't go anywhere without them.  So all bets are off.  No idea when this will get resolved,” a source integral to the Bond franchise told Deadline London editor Tim Adler today. Eon is a subsidiary of Danjaq, the Broccoli family holding company responsible for the copyright and trademarks to everything James Bond on screen.] While the studio’s beleaguered backers unwisely allowed MGM and its library to languish by not making new movies and benching MGM’s creative and marketing/distribution executives while it staged a futile sales auction that attracted bottom-fishing bids, MGM has made sure to meets the minimum obligations to its two gems, James Bond and The Hobbit. The studio is mulling whether to change its lethargic strategy and free up money for back-to-back Hobbit films to keep the first film on track for a December 2012 release. That’s because Peter Jackson is willing to direct the films but might not if … Read More »

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