For the last couple of years, everybody has been wondering who will star in the next James Bond movie. However, it turns out there may be an even more important question to answer first. Which studio is going to have the rights to the next James Bond movie? MGM and Eon Productions are the studios responsible for producing the James Bond movies but neither of them is a distributor, so they need to partner with another studio that has that ability. Sony's deal to distribute the films ended with Spectre which has now lead for a free-for-all as five different studios are now courting the franchise, looking to be the new James Bond distributor.
The five studios currently making pitches are, according to the New York Times, Sony, who apparently wants to follow up their previous four picture deal, Warner Bros., Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Annapurna a fairly new studio responsible for films like Sausage Party and Her, that is looking to make James Bond their gateway into larger films. Some of the presentations that are being made to MGM and Eon are rather elaborate, we reported on the Dr. No inspired presentation that Sony gave to try and woo the brand back into their stable.
Interestingly, while Sony's previous deal was for four movies, the current offer on the table would only cover the next film, which makes the lengths that these distributors are going to seem slightly out of sorts. Yet, the James Bond name is a huge brand that would only add prestige, which is likely the reason that so many studios are putting so much into trying to win the rights to the next entry.
One of the reasons that the current deal might only be for one film may have to do with the current state of the casting for the James Bond role. It's a well-known fact that MGM and Eon want Daniel Craig to return for one more movie, but it's just as well known at this point that Craig has not committed. While recent indications are that he may be leaning toward returning, recasting the role will certainly need to happen after this next movie and MGM and Eon may not want to be tied down by a distribution deal when it comes time for the character's next reboot.
However, it's also likely that this deal will need to be in place before other decisions can be made. Sony reportedly paid for 50% of the production of Spectre and assuming that a similar deal will be in place for the next film, whoever wins the deal will certainly want a voice at the table when decisions about the new film are made. However, in the end, there are only two people who need to make a decision. Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson have the final say on all things James Bond, from the lines of dialogue in the script to the studio that will win this deal.