The distribution rights for James Bond expired at Sony after Spectre, which has led to a bidding war this past year between studios since a James Bond film, no matter its quality, is a guaranteed hit. While major studios including Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal all wanted James Bond, it looks like the rights for the upcoming 25th installment will go to the small, up-and-coming studio Annapurna Pictures.
Deadline reports that a deal between rights-holder MGM and distributor Annapurna, which had previously produced films but began distribution earlier this year with Detroit, will likely be finalized later this week. Per Deadline, “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.” Annapurna had the inside track since Lomis previously worked on domestic distribution for the Bond films while at MGM and Weinstock marketed them during his time at Sony.
However, while the producers believe Annapurna will have a strong domestic distribution strategy for Bond, they’re not willing to entrust the studio with worldwide rights. 70% of Bond’s box office revenue comes from overseas, so MGM and EON are still looking to see which studio will handle that distribution. Warner Bros., Sony, and Universal are still vying for those rights, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
It looks like everything is pretty much falling into place for James Bond 25. The film has a release date set for November 8, 2019, Daniel Craig is on board to return for one final go-round as 007, and as far as a director goes, the frontrunners remain Yann Demange (’71), Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049), and David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water). I wouldn’t be surprised if everything on the next Bond film is lined up and ready to go before the year is out.