The James Bond sweepstakes has taken an unexpected turn. While Warner Bros. remains in the lead to land film distribution rights to the megafranchise — whose deal with Sony expired after 2015’s Spectre — a couple of unlikely suitors have emerged that also are in hot pursuit: Apple and Amazon.
The tech giants are willing to spend in the same ballpark as Warners, if not much more, for the rights, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. MGM has been looking for a deal for more than two years, and Sony, Universal and Fox also had been pursuing the property, with Warners and Sony the most aggressive.
But the emergence of Apple — which is considered such a viable competitor that Warners is now pressing MGM hard to close a deal — and Amazon shows that the digital giants consider Bond one of the last untapped brands (like a Marvel, Pixar or Lucasfilm) that could act as a game-changer in the content space. Apple’s and Amazon’s inclusion in the chase would indicate that more is on the table than film rights, including the future of the franchise if MGM will sell or license out for the right price.
The Star Wars franchise has shown that refreshing the format is a potentially viable strategy. I really loved The Force Awakens and Rogue One wasn’t far off — it’s not perfect, but it is a chance to spend more time in the Star Wars universe. The James Bond series of movies is my other favourite — I’ve been watching them all my life — and there is a potential here to expand upon it, perhaps even venturing into TV show territory. James has worked with other 00 agents in his movies before and I’d happily watch their adventures too.
Oh! Apple still hasn’t proven itself trustworthy in this sector (Tim Cook and Bono, Planet of the Apps), so I hope they don’t screw this up, if they get the rights.