The future of James Bond may be found with Apple or Amazon, as both have entered the race to buy the property's rights. Sony had previously had a handle on Bond, but their deal with expired with Spectre's release in 2015. They had previously bought the distribution rights from MGM and Eon and played a pivotal role in revitalizing the franchise with Daniel Craig in the lead. However, since Spectre, 007 has been on the open market waiting to get picked up by another studio or brought back to Sony.
The race for Bond's rights has been ongoing, but Craig's commitment to Bond 25, a director shortlist that includes Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and Yann Demange ('71), and an official 2019 release date have set things in motion for the film. Now it just needs to find a place to call home, and two new contenders have joined the bidding war.
THR is reporting that digital giants Apple and Amazon have emerged as potential landing spots, with both studios said to be "hot pursuit" of Bond. While it is still believed that Warner Bros. is in the driver's seat to get the rights, both Apple and Amazon are reportedly not lowballing their bids - and may even be willing to pay more than some of the major studios. Additionally, it is believed that Apple and Amazon's entry into this race could indicate that more than just the film rights may be up for grabs, leading to the possibility of Bond related TV shows.
Apple and Amazon will now find themselves competing not only with WB, but also Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Annapurna Pictures according to a previous report. However, in order for Apple or Amazon to beat out the biggest studios, they'll have to pay up, with estimates putting the value of 007's franchise as low as $2 billion, but as high as $5 billion. That would be a hefty price tag, but should the deals currently being negotiated include multiple films (such as the reboot that will follow Craig's exit) and the prospects of doing TV shows within the universe, it would be a worthy investment.
The inclusion of Apple and Amazon should only make the race for these rights that much more interesting to follow. While there is no clear timetable to pinpoint when MGM and Eon will make their pick, this is a process that has been ongoing for years. Now that Craig is on board and the director search finalizing, choosing a studio to sell the rights to may be next up on the docket. Should it go to either Apple or Amazon, it will only further solidify that digital studios such as these (and Netflix) are here to play and they'll be just as, if not more, aggressive as their competing Hollywood studios.
- James Bond 25 (2020) release date: Feb 14, 2020