Apple allegedly making big push for $5 billion James Bond 007 movie franchise rights

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited September 2017
After a 2015 expiration of the last deal for the James Bond 007 film franchise, a new report claims that Apple, Amazon, and Warner Bros. are sparring over production rights for future films.




An account published by The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday notes that Apple's emergence into the bidding process is forcing Warner Bros. to press MGM and Eon "hard" to close a deal for the franchise. Sources claim that the future of the franchise is at stake, beyond just film rights.

Reportedly, Apple's new hires of ex-Sony Television Studios executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht are driving the effort. They may be fighting an uphill battle, as Eon producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson "remain traditional" in thinking, and appear to be most focused on theatrical movies, rather than digital distribution deals, or migration to a television series format.

MGM has recently secured Daniel Craig to return, after the actor said that he would never return to the role. The next film in the series is expected to release on Nov. 8, 2019.

"Apple is the biggest digital outlet for movies," United Talent Agency's Yale Chasin said to The Hollywood Reporter on background. "I think they are always present in the conversation whether they're upfront or behind any other distributor out there that's turning to them for real control in the digital market."

If Apple is in the running for the franchise, it isn't about profitability. In an email released during the Sony hack and document dump, the former head of Sony's business affairs noted that Bond flick Spectre needed to gross $1.1 billion to earn the studio $35 million. The film actually garnered around $900 million in ticket sales.

Valuation of the franchise is said to be between $2 billion and $5 billion.

Sony programming attributed to Apple executives Van Amburg and Erlicht include "The Blacklist," AMC's "Breaking Bad" companion and spin-off "Better Call Saul," and Netflix's "The Crown."

Other less standard deals for the pair include the revival of "Timeless" after its cancellation by NBC, plus migration of "Community" from NBC to Yahoo, "Unforgettable" from CBS to A&E, and "Damages" from FX to DirecTV.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    If accurate, I really don't understand the thinking behind this. These new guys need to think like a lean startup, not a flush with cash arm of Apple. That's a sure fire way to lose your shirt going into negotiations. But hey, it's not THEIR money, right? Jeez.
    edited September 2017 mr orandominternetperson
  • Reply 2 of 42
    wigbywigby Posts: 692member
    sog35 said:
    If accurate, I really don't understand the thinking behind this. These new guys need to think like a lean startup, not a flush with cash arm of Apple. That's a sure fire way to lose your shirt going into negotiations. But hey, it's not THEIR money, right? Jeez.
    act like a start up?  Why?

    Apple is already a decade behind Netflix.  

    Apple has $250 billion in cash.  At this point time is more valuable than money.  Its the same reason they bought Beats instead of growing their own streaming platform.

    I have no problem with Apple spending HUGE cash in growing their video platform.  

    As a shareholder I see them spending billions on content as an investment.
    I disagree that they are in a race. All it takes is one hit 5 years from now and Apple will be setup and ready to go. No need to rush good content. Good stories and storytellers will always be valued and Netflix does not have any kind of monopoly on that.

    In the meantime, they can throw their cash around as a negotiating tactic. They might not even be serious but by upping the bidding, they can damage their competition. Of course that also raises prices for us too eventually.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 42
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    It’s not clear with this article what’s meant. Obviously the streaming rights aren’t $5B. And if not it should be more clear. It’s also not clear by how it’s written whether Spectre lost the studio money or eared it $900M.
    edited September 2017 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 4 of 42
    Daniel Craig certainly gave new life to a tired franchise. Prior to him it had become too stupid and cartoonish. 

  • Reply 5 of 42
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,989administrator
    ireland said:
    It’s not clear with this article what’s meant. Obviously the streaming rights aren’t $5B. And if not it should be more clear. It’s also not clear by how it’s written whether Spectre lost the studio money or eared it $900M.
    You have what we have -- and the original (linked) source is less clear.

    Also, the studio hasn't said what it earned or lost on Spectre.
  • Reply 6 of 42
    Hollywood is awash with "me-too" productions. Comic books, bogeyman scare movies, and Part VIII of whatever silliness showed a slim profit. The future will look back and wonder if everyone in America has the artistic maturity of twelve year-olds. If Apple is dead set an aping somebody, why not HBO, Showtime, or other cable producers who have shown that it is possible to have artistic balls and still make a profit. 
    badmonk
  • Reply 7 of 42
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,784member
    Daniel Craig certainly gave new life to a tired franchise. Prior to him it had become too stupid and cartoonish. 

    Who can forget Pierce Brosnan windsurfing a tidal wave?
  • Reply 8 of 42
    Just what the Bond franchise needs: to be more watered down, PC and beige!
  • Reply 9 of 42
    ireland said:
    It’s not clear with this article what’s meant. Obviously the streaming rights aren’t $5B. And if not it should be more clear. It’s also not clear by how it’s written whether Spectre lost the studio money or eared it $900M.
    You have what we have -- and the original (linked) source is less clear.

    Also, the studio hasn't said what it earned or lost on Spectre.
    Mike, didn't you know that ALL Hollywood movies lose money? 😉
  • Reply 10 of 42
    Hollywood is awash with "me-too" productions. Comic books, bogeyman scare movies, and Part VIII of whatever silliness showed a slim profit. The future will look back and wonder if everyone in America has the artistic maturity of twelve year-olds. If Apple is dead set an aping somebody, why not HBO, Showtime, or other cable producers who have shown that it is possible to have artistic balls and still make a profit. 
    You need to add terrible remakes (Mummy 2017) of older movies to that list. 
  • Reply 11 of 42
    ireland said:
    It’s not clear with this article what’s meant. Obviously the streaming rights aren’t $5B. And if not it should be more clear. It’s also not clear by how it’s written whether Spectre lost the studio money or eared it $900M.
    You have what we have -- and the original (linked) source is less clear.

    Also, the studio hasn't said what it earned or lost on Spectre.

    If the studio lost money on a film (without an astronomical special effects budget) with a worldwide gross of nearly a billion dollars something is very wrong or fishy.  I'm sure they did just fine with that or they wouldn't still be in the movie business.

    pscooter63
  • Reply 12 of 42
    nhtnht Posts: 4,496member
    An Apple "The Blacklist" and "Breaking Bad" is probably better than an Apple Bond movie.  

    That said, it would be quite a statement to produce the next Bond as an iTunes exclusive outside of going to a theater...

    I wonder if these guys are thinking normal 007 for the big screen and other 00s for the TV.  Those are often seen dead...I think 008 is the only one that survives in the movies.
  • Reply 13 of 42
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,962member
    Hmm... if Apple wins this bidding war, I wonder if there will be a Bond movie with a villain who is strangely reminiscent of Elon Musk

    Edit -- 

    Actually, there are a lot of potential Bond villains lurking among Apple's competitors and quasi-competitors. The leadership of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, and Uber all have Bond villain qualities. 
    edited September 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 42
    So, thinking product placement, does this mean that the Apple Car is back on and Aston Martin is out? No more Q, just Siri, in a spooky Knight Rider/Goldfinger mash-up as Bond says "Hey Siri, bring the car round and eject the bad guy in the passenger seat".
  • Reply 15 of 42
    I've seen all the James Bond movies and I think Apple should go for it. I've really enjoyed watching James Bond movies over those many years. I'd be disappointed if Apple gets outbid by Amazon. Apple could use an anchor movie franchise and if Apple has the money, why let some other company get it. Apple should take a few risks and accumulate content considering all the active Apple devices they have. An exclusive franchise could really bring more consumers to Apple or at least hold the ones Apple already has.
  • Reply 16 of 42
    blastdoor said:
    Hmm... if Apple wins this bidding war, I wonder if there will be a Bond movie with a villain who is strangely reminiscent of Elon Musk

    Edit -- 

    Actually, there are a lot of potential Bond villains lurking among Apple's competitors and quasi-competitors. The leadership of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Tesla, and Uber all have Bond villain qualities. 
    The next villain is Jay Y. Lee. 
  • Reply 17 of 42
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,330member
    If accurate, I really don't understand the thinking behind this. These new guys need to think like a lean startup, not a flush with cash arm of Apple. That's a sure fire way to lose your shirt going into negotiations. But hey, it's not THEIR money, right? Jeez.
    They really dont seem to know what they are doing. So Apple will produce James Bond in the future? Surely it will have to be a cinema release to begin with. And then, what, Apple exclusitivity for a few months? 


    Not seeing how that attracts anybody to the platform but the most devoted James Bond fans, of which there are few.  Not enough to justify $billions anyway. And what then - buy up Bourne? Then what?
  • Reply 18 of 42
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,330member

    sog35 said:
    If accurate, I really don't understand the thinking behind this. These new guys need to think like a lean startup, not a flush with cash arm of Apple. That's a sure fire way to lose your shirt going into negotiations. But hey, it's not THEIR money, right? Jeez.
    act like a start up?  Why?

    Apple is already a decade behind Netflix.  

    Apple has $250 billion in cash.  At this point time is more valuable than money.  Its the same reason they bought Beats instead of growing their own streaming platform.

    I have no problem with Apple spending HUGE cash in growing their video platform.  

    As a shareholder I see them spending billions on content as an investment.
    This is an argument for buying NetFlix not starting with their own internal production team. Netflix know what they are doing. Of course, Apple cant really privilege Apple Users if they do buy Netflix, not with the existing contracts that non Apple customers have grandfathered in. 
  • Reply 19 of 42
    Daniel Craig certainly gave new life to a tired franchise. Prior to him it had become too stupid and cartoonish. 

    Depends on your viewpoint. All of my friends agree with me. We're first generation Bond fans who watched Connery and Moore in theaters. None of us like the vicious, thuggish Craig Bond.
    [Deleted User]
  • Reply 20 of 42
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,490member
    sog35 said:
    If accurate, I really don't understand the thinking behind this. These new guys need to think like a lean startup, not a flush with cash arm of Apple. That's a sure fire way to lose your shirt going into negotiations. But hey, it's not THEIR money, right? Jeez.
    act like a start up?  Why?

    Apple is already a decade behind Netflix.  

    Apple has $250 billion in cash.  At this point time is more valuable than money.  Its the same reason they bought Beats instead of growing their own streaming platform.

    I have no problem with Apple spending HUGE cash in growing their video platform.  

    As a shareholder I see them spending billions on content as an investment.
    And does Netflix make money?  Apple is in high-margin businesses that are relatively non-risky.   Content development is hugely risky especially in today's market.   Even without Hollywood accounting chicanery, most movies are not profitable.   In addition to the production cost, most big films spend an equal amount on marketing.   The theatrical market in the U.S. is dying.   Over the first two quarters of this calendar year, AMC sold an average of only 91 tickets per screen per day.   They lost $168 million in the second quarter, although that was mainly due to debt service and acquisitions.   Most TV shows only make money if they can be sold into syndication and that only happens if you have at least 100 episodes.   Obviously there's some money to be made via streaming subscriptions and individual paid downloads, but there are so many services, I think the profits are spread pretty thin.   It might be different if that market would shake out.  

    For "Spectre", "Quantum of Solace", "Die Another Day", "The World Is Not Enough" and "Tomorrow Never Dies", the production budget ran from 32.4% to 39.9% of the world-wide box-office and remember, the studio only gets about half of that.   Even without marketing, all of these films probably lost money and even if they made a little, they didn't make Apple margins.  The Bond film with the highest margins was the first one, "Dr. No", which had a production budget of just $1 million ($7.99 million in 2017 dollars) and grossed over $59 million theatrically worldwide (over $475 million in 2017 dollars).  But today, $475 million worldwide is not considered hugely successful.   Everyone wants a film to do $1 billion of box-office.  

    Now if Apple wanted to buy an entire studio or content production company, that might make some sense, although still low margin and highly risky.  But spending a lot on just one franchise - one that has produced 24 films (not including the 1967 "Casino Royale" or "Never Say Never Again") in 54 years doesn't make sense to me, except for the name brand value.   

    And I'm unclear as to what WB has to do with it, since the only film they were involved with was "Never Say Never Again".   All the recent films were distributed in the U.S. by Sony, either under Sony Pictures Releasing or Columbia.   Before that it was all MGM or UA.
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