MGM, ‘James Bond’ Producer End Decades-Long War Over 007

James Bond Thunderball

MGM and Danjaq have acquired all of the rights and interests in James Bond held by the estate of Kevin McClory, ending more than 50 years of litigation between the producers of the franchise and an author who penned Bond scripts with Ian Fleming.

MGM, Danjaq and the estate of McClory issued a statement on Friday saying that they have brought to an “amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically for over 50 years.” Details of the settlement were not disclosed.

At the heart of the longtime dispute was a script that McClory wrote with Fleming and writer-for-hire Jack Whittingham in the late 1950s that Fleming later used to turn into the novel “Thunderball,” without giving McClory credit.  McClory sued in 1961, and a settlement in which he produced “Thunderball” eventually allowed him rights to retell that movie as 1983’s “Never Say Never Again,” marking the return of Sean Connery in the lead role, and also his last time as 007. It also was the only Bond dramatic feature made outside of the family of producer Cubby Broccoli. In fact, the movie was released the same year as another Bond pic, “Octopussy,” starring Roger Moore.

A ruling in 1983 in London courts held that McClory was allowed to make Bond films. But when McClory later claimed partial ownership over the Bond character in a federal suit filed in Los Angeles, the suit was dismissed in 2000 on the grounds that he waited to long to file his claim. The 9th Circuit upheld the dismissal in 2001.

McClory died in 2006.

The estate was represented by William K. Kane and Adam Skilken of BakerHostetler LLP in Chicago.

“We were pleased to represent the estate of Kevin McClory in bringing to resolution this lengthy and contentious copyright dispute over the James Bond franchise,” Kane said in a statement. “The 50-year intellectual property row involving James Bond was settled because of a great deal of hard work by the attorneys for the estate of Kevin McClory, MGM, and Danjaq and will benefit James Bond film fans throughout the world.”

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  1. alisaleann says:

    Daniel Craig was an amazing 007. Bolder more rugged and breaking the British standard rules of decorum in the name of duty. I will sadly miss him. However I believe Tom Hardy will make a most excellent 007.

  2. queen Georgewill says:

    i like 007 james bond

  3. Mark Thompson says:

    For the full story of the McGlory/EON battle, see the [now-out-of-print-for-legal-reasons] 1st edition of ‘The Battle For Bond’.
    This was pulped by the publisher weeks after publication, and a sanitised 2nd edition subsequently published.
    Bond is big bucks, and DANJAQ/EON don’t like the truth being aired about their business dealings.

  4. Dasan Roland says:

    Actually, the article is correct about the release year for Never Say Never Again. Both it and Octopussy were released in 1983, while For Your Eyes Only was released in 1981. Never Say Never Again was McClory and Sean Connery’s attempt to get back at Danjaq and Cubby Broccoli.

  5. John brandle says:

    Never Say Never Again was released the same year as For Your Eyes Only, not Octopussy, as the article suggests.

  6. Joel Kellner says:

    “It also was the only Bond dramatic feature made outside of the family of producer Cubby Broccoli.”

    Actually, it isn’t. There was 1967’s dreadful “Casino Royale” from Columbia…though it could hardly be called dramatic. This farce (in all senses of the word) was the only movie Peter Sellers, David Niven, Woody Allen and Orson Welles ever appeared in together.

    Great music, though, by Burt Bacharach.

  7. Terry Fisher says:

    I assume this means that future Bond installments can use SPECTRE and Ernst Stavro Blofeld again.

  8. Jim says:

    Love that name: DANJAQ (named after the wives of Albert (Cubby) Broccoli and Harry Saltzman: Dana Broccoli and Jaquie Saltzman).

    Well I’m glad that’s over. Danjaq also co-owns (with Famous Artists), “Casino Royal”, the Woody Allen/Peter Sellers movie.

    “SMERSH”

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