MGM Allegedly Battled to Cut James Bond’s $300 Million Plus Budget: Sony Hack Latest

Sam Mendes Daniel Craig Spectre James
Karwai Tang/WireImage

'This is not about 'nickel and diming' the production,' president of MGM Studios, Jonathan Glickman, told 007 producer

MGM Studios allegedly fought with James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli to scale back the budget of the latest 007 film, “Spectre,” which started shooting this week. The disclosure was revealed in the latest leak of hacked Sony emails.

According to emails seen by CNN, “Spectre’s” budget was set at more than $300 million, but internal memos sent in early November by the president of MGM Studios, Jonathan Glickman, show he was applying pressure on Broccoli to cut costs substantially. Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal is cc’d on these emails as Sony is co-financing and will distribute the pic.

Glickman revealed that the budget “sits in the mid $300Ms,” but MGM was very keen to drag it back to $250 million. The shooting costs are $50 million more than the last film in franchise, “Skyfall,” the emails stated.

Glickman suggested ways to cut costs: For example, a night-time scene set at a villa in Rome could be shot in London instead; a fight scene on a train could use three carriages instead of four; and a “dramatic finale in the rain” could be dropped to “lower the cost of visual/special effects.”

Glickman also suggested that the producers could get an extra $6 million by showing “the more modern aspects” of Mexico to maximize “the Mexican incentive.”

“We recognize that this movie needs to build on the past few films — and there are expectations we must meet for the audience. Still, we must find further cuts,” Glickman said in an email, according to CNN. “This is not about ‘nickel and diming’ the production.”

Broccoli was not willing to compromise. She stated in her response that they “cannot find the cemetery or villa in the U.K.,” and refused to cut down the number of carriages in the train scene.

Pascal then sent a message direct to Glickman, stating: “It’s insane and you know with no script this movie is gonna go overbudget.”

On a positive note, Glickman pointed out that a product placement deal struck with Heineken is helping reduce the budget.

The hacked emails also reveal that when director Sam Mendes cast Andrew Scott (who plays Moriarty in “Sherlock”) as Bond’s intelligence agency boss “C,” they allegedly paid him $1 million less than they were going to pay “12 Years a Slave” star Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The emails also reveal the film features a “lesbian bad lady,” and confirm that Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the boss of secret organization Spectre, will make an appearance.

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  1. In in my personal opinion they should continue with 300M budget, Spectre really deserve to be treated well after the huge success of Skyfall which went over $1 Billion. They shouldn’t care about the movie plot revealed by hackers now instead of budget. it’s a tough mission for 007!

  2. SKYFALL was a meticulously crafted film in all departments that went beyond audience expectations. The billion plus it made was before home theater release. I trust the Bond team to up the ante and deliver.

  3. zen4zoey says:

    Yes, that’s quite a budget for ‘Spectre’. But keep in mind that ‘Skyfall’ made over one billion, one hundred million for the studios.

  4. jhs39 says:

    The leaked e-mails state that Spectre’s shooting budget is in the mid 300 million range and is currently 50 million higher than on the previous Bond film. But according to Box Office Mojo the officially released budget figure for Skyfall was 200 million dollars. The e-mails seem to suggest that Sony and MGM underreported the budget for Skyfall by 100 million dollars, unless I’m reading something wrong.

  5. BondedMan says:

    Come on everyone…. wake the F### UP…. The price of shooting “SPECTRE” will be $ 50 million dollars MORE than the budget for 2012’s “Skyfall” ????!!! WTF ???!!! What went up in price … tuxedos, thongs, and cocaine…?!!! The price of oil has gone down and costs for film sets and actors have stayed steady. It can only mean one thing: stupid spending and maybe even MISPENDING. Any SONY shareholders out there angry yet…?

  6. occultology says:

    $300 Million Dollars spent on a movie with NO icebergs? Titanic.

  7. Bob says:

    This is a stupid amount money Mr Glickman is absolutely correct.
    They should cut it at least $100 million, or kill the franchise off for a while.

  8. equipmentguy says:

    Holy crap these hacked emails are tearing the town up!! Everybody will be meeting face to face now using sign language during meetings. And $300 million plus for the Bond movie, really! That’s just nuts. As Sam Spiegel said to David Lean during the Lawrence shoot “why use a 1000 camels in this shot when 500 will do?”

    • Jedi77 says:

      Agree that $300 million plus is freaking crazy. But that being said, you really can’t use Lawrence as an example of over-expenditure, considering the legacy of that particular film. It was worth every penny.

      Now, spending $135 million on a Kevin James/Adam Sandler film (‘Pixels’) That you can use as an example over some serious over-expenditure.

      • equipmentguy says:

        Agree Jedi, was worth every cent or camel, in regard to Lawrence. Poking fun at the absurdity of these big budget movies. When a producer refuses to move a location from Rome to London and then states there’s no cemetery’s in the UK that will work now we’re getting into an unreasonable producer.

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