James Bond Distribution Rights Coming Up For Grabs (EXCLUSIVE)

James Bond Movie Distribution Rights in
Courtesy of Sony Pictures

James Bond may bring his license to kill to another Hollywood studio after a lucrative stint at Sony Pictures, sources tell Variety.

The November 6 release of “Spectre” will mark the end of a multi-picture pact between Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony that has encompassed “Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace” and “Skyfall,” the highest-grossing 007 film in franchise history.

However, insiders speculate that the close relationship between MGM chief Gary Barber and Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara could result in the super-spy shifting addresses to the Burbank studio. MGM and Warner Bros. have partnered on several films including the “Hobbit” trilogy, the May box office dud “Hot Pursuit” and the upcoming Rocky Balboa spin-off, “Creed.”

In an exclusive sit-down interview, newly-minted Sony Pictures Entertainment motion picture group chairman Tom Rothman acknowledged that the fight for the Bond rights will be fierce.

“The reality is that Sony’s had a fantastic run with the Bonds,” said Rothman, adding, “Sure we’re going to compete for (the rights), but let’s be honest, so is everybody in the business.”

“I hear Variety is putting in a bid,” he joked.

Sony extended its contract to co-finance and distribute “Spectre” and “Skyfall” in 2011, throwing in the right for MGM to invest on Sony’s remake of “Total Recall,” “21 Jump Street,” and “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.”

James Bond made an appearance in the hack attack on Sony that helped cost Rothman’s predecessor Amy Pascal her job and resulted in the release of reams of company emails and documents. An early script for “Spectre” was among the items that made their way to the Internet.

“This Bond is going to be great and…hopefully we’ll do as good a job as we did on the last one,” said Rothman, noting that with a global gross of more than $1 billion, “Skyfall’s” box office haul was “by far and away the highest that any Bond had ever done.”

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  1. meiray says:

    Even after The Hobbit’s windfall, MGM doesn’t really have the resources to go it alone on Bond again, does it? It probably needs the security of co-financing its other films that aren’t surefire hits with this franchise as leverage?

  2. Ted Biscuit says:

    Who controls the rights to the property i.e. has the power to option?

  3. James Bond films are much awaited by the public & most of them CLICKS at the box office due to it’s varied content which CATERS to all sections of our society.Everyone SECRETLY wants to be a James Bond IN REAL LIFE BUT CAN’T & so the next option is to see a Bond film & be satisfied!

  4. dee says:

    We all have our lists of favorites and least favorites. I’m with poster Stan Gary – just don’t delay future productions!

  5. Mister Jones says:

    Skyfall is the second worst Bond movie to date. Quantum of Solace was the previous holder of that title. If Spectre is poor, then I will end my relationship with 007 this winter.

    • drdeath2000 says:

      Wow, no, it is not “second worst”. It’s not the best (top 7, easy), but far from worst. Roger Moore has the first couple spots with View to a Kill and Moonraker, then you have Never say Never Again and Diamonds are Forever, QoS, All the rest of Roger Moore’s followed by Pierce movies not named Goldeneye. After that, you can argue over what comes next, but I personally rank Skyfall above Goldeneye.

  6. mikeam1978 says:

    It’s sad that “Skyfall” is the highest-grossing Bond movie ever. It’s the WORST Bond movie ever. I’d rather watch “Live and Let Die” or “Moonraker” again than suffer through a repeat viewing of “Skyfall.” Utterly dreadful in every way. So far, Daniel Craig is like Pierce Brosnan 2.0: a really fantastic debut, followed by a series of awful duds.

  7. tlsnyder42 says:

    Which Bond movies are the best? I like FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, GOLDFINGER, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, and SKYFALL.

    • Tim says:

      I only watch the Daniel Craig films. Casino Royale being my favorite.

    • Mister Jones says:

      I like License to Kill. The Bond girl in that one is phenomenally stunning to me. I am also very partial to For Your Eyes Only and Live and Let Die.

  8. Stan Gary says:

    This gives an average moviegoer like me a headache. Just so long as it doesn’t delay future productions.

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