MGM and the producer of the James Bond movies have finally acquired all of the rights to the 007 franchise. After a legal battle royale that has gone on more than 50 years, the studio and Danjaq today announced they now have all of the rights and interests to the British spy held by Kevin McClory and his estate. McClory worked with Bond creator Ian Fleming and writer Jack Whittingham on a script for Thunderball in the late 1950s. McClory would later claim he helped created a number of iconic elements of the Bond world and gave the character a more movie-friendly persona. No details of the agreement or a settlement have been released. However, I’ve learned that the agreement over the long-standing dispute was finalized between the parties in the last two weeks.
LOS ANGELES, CA (October 30, 2013) – The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced today that Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions will receive the 2014 David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. The award will be presented to Wilson and Broccoli at the 25th Annual Producers Guild Awards ceremony on Sunday, January 19th at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
“We’re honored to be associated with the legendary David O. Selznick and delighted to be receiving this award along with its previous recipients,” said Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
The Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award recognizes a producer’s outstanding body of work in motion pictures. The honor has a rich and distinguished history with past recipients including such legendary producers as Stanley Kramer, Saul Zaentz, Clint Eastwood, Billy Wilder, Brian Grazer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Roger Corman, Laura Ziskin, Kathleen Kennedy & Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg and last year’s recipients Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.
Deadline reported in May that Sony Pictures and MGM were in talks for Skyfall helmer Sam Mendes to return behind the camera for the next installment of the James Bond franchise. The studios, along with producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today confirmed Mendes will direct, with Daniel Craig reprising his role as Bond for the fourth time. There was a lot of speculation about Mendes returning. In March, he said he had made the “very difficult decision” not to return, citing theater and TV commitments. Wilson and Broccoli seemed resigned and they moved on, but they ultimately circled back and decided to wait for Mendes to work through the other commitments. Those include a musical version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory which bowed on London’s West End last month. At the premiere, he told Deadline that Bond was indeed a possibility. It’s good news for Skyfall fans. The Mendes-helmed pic grossed over $1.1B worldwide to become the biggest 007 film and the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time. John Logan is writing the next, as-yet untitled movie, which will bow in the UK on October 23, 2015 and in the U.S. on November 6, 2015. Here’s today’s official release:
CULVER CITY, Calif., July 11, 2013 – Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, EON Productions; Gary Barber, Chairman & CEO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Michael Lynton, CEO, Sony Entertainment, Inc, and Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that Daniel Craig will once again return as the legendary British secret agent in the 24th James Bond film and Sam Mendes will also return to direct the screenplay written by John Logan. The film is set for release in UK theaters on October 23, 2015 and in US theaters on November 6, 2015.
SKYFALL™, the 23rd James Bond film, took in $1.1 billion worldwide and set a new mark as the highest-grossing film of all time in the UK; it was the best-selling Bond film on DVD/Blu-ray and was the most critically acclaimed film in the history of the longest-running film franchise.
Commenting on the announcement, Wilson and Broccoli said, “Following the extraordinary success of SKYFALL, we’re really excited to be working once again with Daniel Craig, Sam Mendes and John Logan.”
“I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24. I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time,” said Mendes.
Pinewood Shepperton has had its share of good and bad news of late. The home of the James Bond franchise is reporting a significant increase in operating profit for the fiscal year, has a steady stream of productions on its stages and is growing abroad. But, it’s still facing a stubborn local council that’s twice rejected its UK expansion plans, most recently in May. A public inquiry into the matter begins November 19. CEO Ivan Dunleavy notes, “Our customers are concerned that the company has sufficient capacity to meet their needs… The need for further, effective infrastructure to meet demand for the UK is a priority.”
Revenue for the 2012/2013 fiscal year ended March 31 was £63M ($96.3M) with operating profit of $8.25M versus $4.13M in the previous period. Among recent films to shoot at Pinewood are The Muppets… Again! and Maleficient. Upcoming are Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy and Star Wars: Episode VII.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures and MGM have started talks for Sam Mendes to return and direct Daniel Craig in the next installment of the James Bond franchise. Mendes helmed the last installment, Skyfall, an audience-pleasing film that grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide to become the biggest Bond film and the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time. John Logan is writing the next film.
There has been much speculation on whether Mendes would come back — right now he’s knee-deep preparing for the West End launch of the stage musical Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, which will then move to Broadway. That happened because Mendes bowed out, claiming that musical and King Lear were his new priorities and producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli seemed resigned and they moved on. Recently, he and the producers got back in touch. While Mendes’ first love is theater, it became clear that the producers wanted him and he wanted to return, and the only thing standing in the way were these stage commitments that Mendes felt obligated to do. So, they’ve decided to wait for him to work through those other commitments, and he’s now making a deal to start production probably next year. What’s the hurry? Craig doesn’t seem to have aged since he took the Bond role; he’s always in rocking shape. While Mendes looked doubtful, a bunch of names have been floated in the press, from Ang Lee to Nicolas Winding Refn and Christopher Nolan. I’m not sure there is much validity to any of them, but now it is a moot point, because Mendes will be the director of the next Bond.
Warp Films Ramps Up TV Fare In Deal With ITVSGE
UK indie production company Warp Films is looking to increase its TV output and has signed a first-look development deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment. The BAFTA-winning Warp previously produced This Is England ’86 and the This Is England ’88. It’s currently producing drama serial Southcliffe for Channel 4. Warp will ramp up its TV development activity with ITVSGE in the coming weeks and the latter will handle the slate internationally. On the feature side, Warp recently produced Richard Ayoade’s Submarine and has the upcoming The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone and Yann Demange thriller 71 on its slate.
Paris Gets A Summer Drive-In
You have to hand it to the French for their summertime moviegoing initiatives. There’s the open-air cinema at the Parc de la Villette and the Fête du Cinéma in June during which ticket prices are slashed across the country. Exhibitor MK2 is adding a new layer this summer by morphing Paris’ Grand Palais museum into a drive-in movie theater from June 10-21. The historic monument that’s just off the Champs-Elysées will welcome up to 1,000 moviegoers per showing in a 1,300 square foot space filled with old and new model Fiats and surrounded by a diner, a gaming arcade and a roller rink that becomes a dance floor at night. Among the movies screening over the 11 day event that’s dubbed Cinema Paradiso are Pulp Fiction, Grease, The Big Lebowski, Taxi Driver, Psycho and Annie Hall. Tickets go on sale April 26.
OSCARS: ‘Les Mis’ Cast, Jennifer Hudson, Catherine Zeta-Jones To Sing Live In Musicals Tribute; Show Producers Reveal More Behind-The-Scenes Details
EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls and Catherine Zeta-Jones for Chicago will be performing their Oscar-winning roles on Sunday’s Academy Awards as part of a celebration honoring the resurgence of movie musicals of the last decade. In the same segment revisiting their roles from this year’s Best Picture contender Les Miserables will be several of the film’s key cast members including Oscar nominees (and former Oscar hosts) Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway along with Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tevit, Samantha Barks, and Helena Bonham Carter.
This year’s Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who last month announced the musical tribute would be part of their show, have kept the participants who will be singing a secret until finally first breaking the news to Deadline this morning.
They have produced musicals for film like Chicago and Hairspray, for television films like Cinderella and The Music Man, on Broadway with How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and Promises Promises, and on series TV with their current NBC drama Smash. Music is obviously in Zadan and Meron’s DNA and, as evidenced by the musical talent they are luring to the telecast, that is clearly what their Oscar show is going to be all about. Host Seth MacFarlane will be merging music with his comedy bits right from the opening as well.
Would a tribute to the James Bond franchise’s 50th anniversary be complete without the woman who sang the theme song to Goldfinger? Shirley Bassey will make her first-ever appearance on the Oscars on February 24, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. They also said that composer-arranger William Ross will conduct the orchestra, marking the third time he has done so for the Academy Awards. Here’s the release on Bassey:
“We are thrilled to welcome the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey to our Oscar show,” said Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “Her association with film music is world renowned and we are proud that she will be making her first Oscar appearance on our telecast.
Bassey is this year celebrating her very own “Diamond Jubilee” with a career spanning over six decades. She has recorded over 44 albums, sold over 135 million records and has sold out concert halls across the world. In June 2012, she was one of a number of esteemed artists, including Elton John, Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox, who performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert. In the United States, Bassey is best known for recording the theme songs for the James Bond films “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Moonraker.”
A group of actors including Da Vinci’s Demons’ Lara Pulver is joining the cast of Sky Atlantic/BBC America‘s biopic Fleming. The upcoming four-part drama stars Dominic Cooper as James Bond creator-author Ian Fleming and, as I reported last week, also has Annabelle Wallis lined up as Muriel Wright, the original inspiration for the Bond Girl. Sky confirms today that Pulver will play Ann O’Neill, with whom Fleming had a longterm on-off relationship before she became his wife in 1952. She is said to have heavily influenced the writer: a year after they wed, the first 007 book, Casino Royale, was published. Mr Selfridge‘s Samuel West is also aboard as Admiral John Godfrey, with whom Fleming worked during WWII and who put him in charge of Operation Golden Eye. Godfrey is generally accepted to have been the inspiration for the M character in the Bond books. British actress Lesley Manville will play Fleming’s mother Eve and British actor Rupert Evans will play his brother Peter. The Hour‘s Anna Chancellor is taking on the part of Lieutenant Monday, an inspiration for Miss Moneypenny.
OSCARS: Academy President Defends Controversial Online Voting, Says More Members Voted Than Ever Before
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences President Hawk Koch vigorously defended the Academy’s controversial new system of online voting when we spoke right after the nominations announcement this morning. He said despite the kinks and some complaints from members about difficulty in voting electronically that it actually brought out the biggest voter participation the organization has had. “It’s the first time, yes. But the first time you do anything of course there’s problems. Remember the first time you walked? Of course there’s problems. But the truth is we’ve had more people voting for nominations than we’ve ever had. And we had more people in each branch, every single branch had more people voting. So that portends two things. One, the online voting worked and two, everyone was excited about the films this year. They wanted to make sure and vote. And three, the questions about ’oh has everybody had a chance to see all the films?’ Our members saw all the films,” he said breaking with the long held tradition of keeping Academy voter turnout totals secret and not commenting at all on the subject. There had been speculation the Academy’s sometimes-rocky transition into online voting might actually depress voter participation but Koch said that definitely turned out not to be the case according to their internal figures.
Of course the Academy has been under strong scrutiny for the way it has conducted its first foray into the perilous waters of online voting, something every guild and most voting organizations have been doing for the past few years. Because the Academy (which could be a prized target for hackers) has to be overly concerned about security and the threat of having their system infiltrated they devised a “foolproof” system involving the use of codes and passwords and special phone numbers for member verification which confused some members and angered others. Others I spoke with over the course of voting seemed fine with it, so it was a mixed bag. The Academy tried to accommodate everyone and extended the registration period by two weeks after the first Deadline article appeared on November 28, and later changed its rules to automatically send a paper ballot for those who didn’t register online. As more members expressed frustration about being “locked out” of the system the Academy took another unprecedented step and even extended voting by one day to January 4th instead of the original announced date of January 3rd.
BREAKING: It has only taken 007 half a century to get his due from the Academy. Oscars exec producers will include a tribute to the James Bond franchise, it was announced this morning. It’s a good idea from the standpoint of getting the masses interested in avoiding a snore-fest like last year, but the timing is also fortuitous for honoring moviedom’s most enduring feature franchise.
The most recent installment, the Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall, recently became the first 007 film to crack the $1 billion worldwide gross mark; also, Bond celebrated its 50-year anniversary with the Skyfall release.
It is a remarkable exception to how the Academy has historically dismissed the James Bond films as award-worthy. Only 1964′s Goldfinger and 1965′s Thunderball won awards, and they were for Best Effects. The 2006 film Casino Royale, which introduced Daniel Craig as 007 and is on my Top 10 favorite films, didn’t get a single Oscar nomination. Perhaps this year will be different — Javier Bardem’s villain character in Skyfall has so far been nominated for SAG and PGA Awards. I’m not sure about a Best Picture nomination, because there are so many worthy films up against Skyfall. At least the series will get a little bit of love from Oscar. Has 007 been done an injustice all these years by Oscar?
Here’s the official announcement:
‘Skyfall’ Explodes With $515M Worldwide As Biggest Bond With $90M Domestic Opening; Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Huge $900K In 11 Runs
SUNDAY 9AM, 8TH UPDATE: Sony Pictures, MGM, and Eon Productions just announced that Skyfall, the 23rd and biggest grossing in the James Bond film series, earned another $89.0M million this weekend overseas bringing the international total to $428.6 million. With this weekend’s $90M opening in the U.S. and Canada, the Sam Mendes-directed, John Logan-scripted, Daniel Craig-starring actioner now has an estimated $518.6M worldwide. Yowza!
Both Skyfall and DreamWorks Studios/Fox/Disney’s Lincoln received great reviews going into Friday and so their opening domestic box office sparked intense industry interest. Total moviegoing this weekend through Sunday was $160M, more than half of it from 007, so that’s a very nice +20% more than last year. “Skyfall blew past all expectations for the film,” gushed a Sony exec today, calling it “the biggest juggernaut in the history of the James Bond franchise”. Despite a four year hiatus during which some cynics thought 007 had jumped the shark, Skyfall opened in North America much larger than anyone thought. Rival studios thought Sony was low-balling with its $75M pre-release estimate. And on Saturday morning, the studio begged me to lower my sources’ $88M weekend estimate. But the actual number is $87.8M ($31.7M Friday, $33.9M Saturday, and an estimated $22.2M Sunday). Add in Thursday’s select 463 IMAX preview screenings and Skyfall‘s cume is now $90M. This is absolutely the biggest-grossing 007 movie ever in the string of films since 1962 – not adjusted for inflation or higher ticket prices or IMAX premiums. It blows away Quantum Of Solace‘s $67.5M opening weekend in November 2008. After Skyfall received a coveted ‘A’ CinemaScore from audiences, word of mouth bumped grosses +7% from Friday to Saturday - even though Friday’s gross included $2.4M from Friday midnights. Skyfall‘s 3,505-run wide release in U.S. and Canada also set a new theater count record for the franchise and its #1 opening is the ninth to be released by Sony Pictures in 2012. IMAX took in $13.1M at their theaters as part of Skyfall‘s weekend box office. Exit polls showed 60% of the opening weekend audience was male and 40% was female with 25% under 25 years old. Sony also says the exits showed “extraordinary recommend numbers” so expect a great holiday run.
Internationally, Skyfall opened overseas October 26th, and going into this Friday the actioner had taken in $346.8M internationally. But Hollywood was betting that the worldwide total would be a gargantuan $500+M through Sunday - and it was. Sony’s markets earned $79.6M to bring the cume to $367.4M. MGM’s
distribution partners grossed $9.4M to bring their cume to $61.2M. James Bond #23 has now passed the $407.7M lifetime of Quantum Of Solace and on Monday will pass Casino Royale‘s $432.2M. As for top markets, the UK fell off just 30% in its 3rd weekend, grossing a huge $18.2M to bring the cume to $117.5M. It’s now the 4th biggest film of all time in the UK with £72.9M (and the biggest non-3D film) on its way to becoming #2 of all time on Monday. Germany was off just 30% from its opening frame, adding $15.1M for $44.0M. Others include France now $42.5M, Holland $9.4M, Switzerland $10.9M, Italy $12.1M, Russia $22.0M, Spain $9.9M, Sweden $11.3M, India $8.5M, Mexico $5.8M, Brazil $10.6M, Denmark $9.9M, Norway $9.1M, Korea $14.1M, and Austria $5.4M.
DreamWorks Studios/Fox/Disney’s PG-13 Lincoln platformed in just 11 theatres and overperformed. This massive opening will build even more Oscar buzz for Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tony Kushner, and the rest. Despite a running time of 2-hours/30-minutes, Lincoln surpassed insiders’ hopes that the biopic could debut with an impressive $40K-$50K per screen average through Sunday. Now the real number is $81,800 per screen average and $900K cume this weekend ($268K Friday, $347K Saturday, and an estimated $285K Sunday). ”Off to an incredible start with sold out shows in a number of theatres across the country,” a studio insider tells me, with venues scrambling to add extra screenings. This all bodes well for Lincoln’s continued holiday play when Disney expands theater counts domestically. Twentieth Century Fox has overseas where surprisingly its other Honest Abe movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, did 66.6% of its business. So expect Spielberg’s pic to have heat abroad, too.
As for holdovers, last weekend’s #1 Wreck-It Ralph from Walt Disney Animation hung on for a strong -32% through Sunday, while #2 Paramount’s Flight posted a very good -39%. Full analysis later.
Here’s the Top Ten based on weekend estimates (may be refined):
1. Skyfall (Eon/MGM/Sony) NEW [Runs 3,505] PG13
Friday $31.7M, Saturday $33.9M, Weekend $87.0M
2. Wreck-It Ralph (Disney) Week 2 [Runs 3,752] PG
Friday $7.8M, Saturday $14.7M, Weekend $33.0M (-32%), Cume $93.6M
3. Flight (Paramount) Week 2 [Runs 2,047] R
Friday $4.2M, Saturday $6.5M, Weekend $15.1M (-39%), Cume $47.7M
4. Argo (Warner Bros) Week 5 [Runs 2,763] R
Friday $1.8M, Saturday $3.0M, Weekend $6.7M, Cume $85.7M
5. Taken 2 (Fox) Week 6 [Runs 2,487] PG13
Friday $1.1M, Saturday $1.8M, Weekend $4.0M, Cume $131.2M
6. Here Comes The Boom (Sony) Week 5 [Runs 2,044] PG
Friday $700K, Saturday $1.1M, Friday $2.5M, Cume $39.0M
7. Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros) Week 3 [Runs 2,023] R
Friday $710K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $22.7M
8. Pitch Perfect (Universal) Week 7 [Runs 1,391] PG13
Friday $786K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.5M, Cume $59.0M
9. The Man With The Iron Fist (Universal) Week 2 [Runs 1,872] R
Friday $739K, Saturday $1.0M, Weekend $2.4M (-69%), Cume $12.7
10. Hotel Transylvania (Sony Animation) Week 7 [Runs 2,566] PG
Friday $505K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.3M, Cume $140.9M
Back to 007. “We are off to an amazing start,” Sony told me Friday morning as Skyfall began its roll out in North America. It did $2.2M in Thursday previews that were exclusive to 463 IMAX screens and Premium Large Format theaters. And beginning with Friday midnight shows, it did $2.4M for a combined total of $4.6M. “The matinee numbers are huge,” one rival studio exec told me by midday. “Right now the hourlys are very, very strong!” By early evening it was clear that matinees were “through the roof”, including exceptional performance from IMAX theaters now running with their regular schedule. After a 4-year-delay, James Bond #23 is a 3-way co-production among Eon Productions, MGM Studios, and Sony Pictures who all had to wait for MGM’s bankruptcy to get Skyfall‘s sorry financial and ownership state sorted out.
On the cusp of its U.S. opening, Skyfall just keeps blasting ahead at the box office. The 23rd James Bond film today passed The Dark Knight Rises to become the UK’s highest-grossing film of the year. With a …
Craig Modderno is an AwardsLine contributor
After 50 years on screen, British agent James Bond is once again trying to use a woman to get what he wants from a stranger: Grammy Award-winning Adele sings and cowrote the title song for the latest big-screen Bond adventure, Skyfall. And judging from the international response to the track, this time around Bond might stand a chance in getting some long-deserved Oscar attention for the tune.
But Bond songs—let alone the franchise itself—don’t often earn Academy Award nominations. At an October Academy event, The Music of Bond: The First 50 Years, author and event host Jon Burlingame explained why Bond theme songs have earned only three Oscar nominations over a half-century.
“The problem in composing a song for a Bond film is often the producers require the title of the song to be the title of the film,” Burlingame explains. “But how do you come up with a song entitled ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’?”