MGM, Annapurna Joint Venture Near Domestic Deal On Next James Bond Movie
In a move sure to make the Lion purr, MGM and Annapurna are this close to announcing they will team on the domestic release of the next James Bond movie. This all should be finalized this week, and rumors are flying today. This follows the announcement that MGM was joining forces with Annapurna in a joint venture, and the way this 007 deal will work is MGM’s Gary Barber and producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are calling the shots, with Erik Lomis executing the domestic distribution and Marc Weinstock the marketing for the domestic release. While some might be surprised the historically conservative producers would entrust the crown jewel to a relative newcomer like Annapurna, Lomis worked on the distribution of Bond films before at MGM, and Weinstock marketed two of them while at Sony Pictures.
The move helps MGM (which controls about half of the Bond franchise) to slowly but surely take control of its destiny and have its most enduring relationship in distribution since Barber pulled the studio out of bankruptcy and disbanded its distribution operation years ago. This confirms what Deadline predicted could happen late last month when MGM Annapurna launched a joint venture for theatrical distribution in the U.S.
This is just one of the pieces that has to fall into place. Those producers might put faith in Annapurna in domestic, but not beyond that in a company that has to build offshore distribution and ancillary operations from the ground up. There are still major decisions to be made on both international distribution and ancillary distribution, the latter of which long had been administered by Fox in a deal that is expiring.
The big battle is for overseas distribution and Warner Bros, Sony and Universal are still battling hard. Bond generates just over 70% of its overall box office revenues offshore, so that is the deal everyone is trying to win.
The film will be released November 8, 2019. Daniel Craig has made a deal to return and fill out his contract, which expires after the next film.
The other major decision is, who will direct the film after Sam Mendes parted company after directing Skyfall and Spectre. As Deadline revealed in July, the three frontrunners to direct the next James Bond movie are Yann Demange, Denis Villeneuve and David Mackenzie. Demange directed ’71, an electric 2014 thriller that starred Jack O’Connell as a British soldier left behind the lines in Northern Ireland after dark, who struggles to get safe. He has been engaged in White Boy Rick, with Matthew McConaughey leading the ensemble. Villeneuve just released Blade Runner 2049 and is developing the Dune remake at Legendary. Mackenzie, who directed Best Picture nominee Hell or High Water, is helming for Netflix Outlaw King, the story of Scottish king Robert the Bruce, who most know from Braveheart.
Sony Pictures has been the longtime home for Bond, and has been in the mix but sources said the studio has been informed that domestic will not go their way.
New Humble bundle is Dynamite James Bond comics. Looks like the top tier nabs you the first two Ellis arcs, two by Diggle, and a bunch more besides
This week saw the release of the Solstice one-shot, which was an enjoyable one-off by Ibrahim Moustafa, think it was the best one-shot so far.
In addition to the The Body miniseries starting in January, a new one-shot was announced focusing on M, by Declan Shalvey and PJ Holden:
Pretty much exactly what always bothered me about it. Skyfall reeks of nostalgia - a big part of the plot is about the good old secret agents like Bond against those modern computer hacker people. And the way they re-introduce Bond’s misogynist world-view is probably the worst thing about it: putting a real man (who can even fight!) back in charge and taking the time to deliberately make the point to put the capable female agent we meet at the start behind a desk because she has realised she isn’t “cut out” for field work. Make sure the woman is where she belongs, as the secretary in the ante-chambe and flirting with Bond.
Spectre I can’t even. It’s like satire, the way they try to reintroduce sixties elements like shadowy faces, disfigured villains and big supervillain bases in the desert while also trying to keep the modern Bond aesthetic. Which just revealed the campiness and silliness of those sixties elements.
And the whole nonsense about Waltz being Bond’s brother or something, trying to make a paper-thin, silly story deeply meaningful. That movie had many involuntary laugh-out-loud moments.
Which is quite deliberate, especially given that it served to celebrate the character’s 50th anniversary.
I don’t know, I feel as though it’s inevitable that these fairly formulaic franchises that reboot with a ‘back to basics’ approach will quickly tend to fall back into their old ways afterwards.
You can look at something like Batman Begins as well as Casino Royale (as I think the intent was pretty similar) - the audiences thrilled to seeing these characters rebuilt from the ground up and seeing all the well-known elements of the mythos fall into place, but it’s really only a trick that works once. You can’t keep getting the same reaction from presenting a half-formed version of a well-known character and moving them into their final form.
By the end of these two movies, Bond had become the Bond we knew, and Bruce had become a fully-fledged Batman. From there, I think it’s fairly inevitable that you end up seeing movies that retread the same formulas as the previous movies, and become more big and blockbuster-y again (with all the silliness that that entails). Bond is back with his super-vehicles, gadgets and outrageous super-villains, and Batman is… well, the same really.
Yeah, but Skyfall was actively and deliberately reactionary, and Spectre even more so. I think that’s a different thing from sliding into the old structures (which is what Quantum did, to an extent).
I don’t really see Casino Royale as an origin story with the Bond we know at the end, really. He is very much Bond from the get-go and the difference isn’t mainly one in Bond’s character, but in the world around him and in the structures and atmosphere of the film. All of which could’ve been continued in the next movies if they’d had the guts for it.
The most interesting things Casino Royale does is switching the dynamics of sexual objectification and turning Bond into the sex object*, and the way it reverses our expectations in certain situations, most notably by not letting Bond himself kill the villain but remaining passively bound, unable to escape his imprisonment while someone else shoots Le Chiffre.
As a movie, it’s not about building something anew from the ground up and then getting to the same point where you always were, it’s about changing the rules of the game. And it did so very well. It’s just that the next movies acted as if the rules had never been changed and went back to playing the same old tired game.
I’m not sure I agree. There are lots of little character details that show us that this we’re seeing Bond grow into the person we know from the later films. We see him earning his licence to kill; we see how relatively unsophisticated he is (eg. the ‘shaken or stirred’ / ‘do I look like I give a damn?’ gag); we see him fall for a woman sincerely, and live to regret it, hardening his attitude towards women; and we see him earn the trust of his superiors.
Batman Begins is a bit more explicit about it (and superhero stories by their nature are a bit more obvious about ‘origin’ elements), but Casino Royale is the same basic idea: re-introduce this slightly tired and over-familiar character to audiences in a way that makes him relevant to the modern world again, by showing him growing to become the classic version that we know from the earlier movies.
Like I say, I think it’s a trick you can only do once, or at least only once in a long while.
That’s in a flashback though - he already has it in the actual plot of the movie.
we see how relatively unsophisticated he is
He doesn’t grow any more sophisticated in the movie though, nor do we have any reason to believe he ever will be. He’s a different version of Bond, one without the sophistication.
we see him fall for a woman sincerely, and live to regret it, hardening his attitude towards women
The latter is speculation, though. He may just be a version of Bond who is able to actually connect to women.
I suppose my point is that it’s not an origin movie, but rather a first Bond movie. It introduces Bond to us, but he’s already fully-formed - we don’t see him training at the academy or whatever. He’s a just a new Bond, one that’s somewhat different from the other versions.
Whereas Batman Begins spends two thirds of its running time with Bruce Wayne’s voyage towards becoming Batman, but once he does, it’s all Oh, the Scarecrow has poisoned Gotham’s water supply!
Seems like an entirely different beast to me.
That’s fair. There are differences in the approach. But I think they play on the same basic idea to appeal to the audience: you’re seeing all the aspects of this character gradually ticked off as he grows into them.
Just to comment on this point specifically, I always felt like the famous line “the job’s done and the bitch is dead” was included as a way of marking the transition to a harder Bond who considers women very differently. That may well be me reading too much into it though.
I think he was trying to shut down, it was a really strong moment for the character and the story.
But you can go in different directions from there, they didn’t have to go into full reverse.
And initially they didn’t. Quantum of Solace was its own thing. One of those things was that it was a mess, but it wasn’t a retrograde step on the same level as what came after.
It wasn’t inevitable.
You’re right. I think I was wrong to say it was inevitable. That’s too strong. A natural thing for the franchise to fall back into maybe, but not inevitable.
They could have continued to try and pursue a different tone and approach for the character, but they decided to play it safe instead - possibly influenced by the 50th anniversary element which led them to defer to Bond history more than they necessarily needed to.
Hugh Jackman was originally meant to be played by Dougray Scott but the role instead went to Remington Steele due to a scheduling conflict with The Rocketeer.
It all just blurs together…
Have to say, invinsible car is something that hooked me onto Die Another Day. Off all gadgets, despite feeling outlandish and over the top, I always felt that thing had to be in a Bond movie, even if majority of fans hated it.
Anyway, I watched Spectre two days ago for the first time. And have to say, feelings are mixed. Judging by reviews and word of mouth, I expected it’s gonna be bad like Quantum of Solace, but the impression is a bit positive, despite some annoying flaws. I call Spectre a movie with ups and downs. There are thrilling bits, like pre-credits sequence, of which, first few minutes are notable as to give impression it’s shot in one take. Monica Bellucci is gorgeous a always. Chilling Spectre meeting. Classic Aton Martin…
What’s a small plus, movies possess several throwbacks to the classic Bond adventures. Snow-covered terrain, cottage - OHMSS, anyone? Fight scene with the hulking brute taking place in the train wagon. Who, btw, looks like ordinary henchman, unlike more infamous Bond’s adversaries - Oddjob, Jaws or Tee-Hee. On the other hand…
Lea Seydoux as Bond girl is terrible. The movie falls into boredom after Rome chase sequence, which is shot exactly as is descripted in the newspaper. Like it was Fast&Furious through the streets of Rome. Bond chases villains with airplane. A gasoline pump in the middle of forrest.
But the two biggest complaints are:1) Blofeld. I get that they tried to make him look like Donald Pleasence, with mannerism, even with that scar over the eye, but his portrayal is so washed-up and like a bad joke. I cracked up at the “cu-ckoo” line. Pleasence’s Blofeld had sinister and menacing quality, that lacks here. And Waltz is damn good actor, but he seems miscasted here or the script doesn’t do him any justice. He is scary as the mundane guy next to you. Even his clothing is ordinary.
2) Spectre behind it all? Seriously? Why not making it behind all Bond’s movies? Btw, Blofeld might be playing mind games with James, but still… Hopefully, now the circle is closed. I expected that Bond’d shot Blofeld at the end, but he simply utters poor one-liner and walks off. Seems that heroes don’t kill these days.
Comixology have a sale on Dynamite’s Bond comics:
I got most of them in the Humble Bundle deal recently; I’d recommend the two Ellis arcs (Vargr and Eidolon), James Robinson’s Felix Leiter mini, and the one-shots.