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With the continued delays to No Time To Die’s debut to the world costing MGM quite a bit of money, streaming offers have been a subject of much talk in recent months. Huge price tags have apparently come, and gone, with the studio trying to find a way to send Daniel Craig’s final 007 adventure out to the masses. Now a new twist of fate for MGM itself could change all of that, if not in the immediate future, then definitely in the next era of the Bond films, as the domestic distributor/long term studio partner that’s been with the franchise since day one is once again looking for a buyer.
According to the chatter reported by Forbes, the most promising bidder for MGM’s assets is none other than Amazon Studios, as “exploratory talks” between the studio and Prime Video/Amazon Studios senior vice president Mike Hopkins have apparently taken place. So, theoretically, one could assume that if Amazon Studios buys MGM, they’d get the keys to the James Bond franchise, both in terms of its legacy catalog and any new films that come after No Time To Die’s intended theatrical release. Landing the whole 007 library would be quite exciting, especially when looking at its current place in the streaming landscape.
With almost every James Bond film available for streaming through multiple platforms, there’s no definitive home to watch every installment just yet. Amazon buying MGM sounds like it’s be a fantastic shortcut into the family, but there’s a familiar wrinkle that would present the ultimate challenge. Per the Forbes report, EON Productions presents the following obstacles that need to be kept in mind, no matter who’s looking to buy MGM and its library:
Barbara Broccoli and her half brother Michael G. Wilson, who maintain an iron grip over the Bond franchise — a deal initially hammered out decades ago by Broccoli’s father, producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli — have the final say over casting decisions, dialog and promotional materials related to 007 — adding complexity to any deal talks.
So if you want to buy MGM to get your hands onto the Rocky or Pink Panther franchises, that’s fine and dandy. Those movies exist in the studio’s in-house library, or at least that’s the impression that most analysts seem to get. But as seen with the previous round of high stakes streaming offers supposedly on the table for No Time To Die, EON Productions’ veto power remains strong.
Theoretically, in a move to put the James Bond franchise into the streaming game, buying MGM is only half of the puzzle that Amazon would need to put together. The other half would be convincing EON Productions to allow 007’s past, present, and future to have an exclusive home on Prime Video, alongside rival spies like Jack Ryan and John Clark. With the price tag already set in the neighborhood of $9-$10 billion, you can expect that amount to only rise, with more perhaps extra conditions thrown into the fine print.
Who can blame Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson for such stringent guidelines though? When you’ve got a worldwide franchise like James Bond in your family’s history, and there’s still good money to be made at the box office, a streaming sale seems shortsighted. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on the MGM situation in the meantime, as the legendary brand doesn’t expect bidders to talk… they’ll expect them to buy.