Jeff Bezos bought the studio that oversaw James Bond’s worldwide success, but two siblings still control the script, directing, and even who gets to play 007.
Amazon’s $ 8.45 billion acquisition of MGM this week rocked Hollywood, but the Bond franchise is still firmly owned by Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, step-siblings who own Mrs. Broccoli’s father’s production rights in 1995. inherited.
Ms. Broccoli was on set almost every day during the filming of the most recent episode, No Time to Die, choosing Daniel Craig as Pierce Brosnan’s successor.
Rights to the Bond films were shared by MGM and Eon Productions, owned by the siblings. That share will now go to Amazon, but Ms. Broccoli and Mr. Wilson will be firmly on the creative side, from plot to director and who gets to play the friendly MI6 agent.
Daniel Craig poses with Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson as he is revealed as the new James Bond in 2005
Barbara Broccoli attends the world premiere of new Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’, Odeon Leicester Square (left) and Jeff Bezos attends Amazon Prime Video Golden Globe Awards After Party at the Beverly Hilton Hotel
“We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for global theatrical audiences,” the siblings said in a statement this week.
The siblings are so senior at MGM that they were aware of the sale days before it closed, the Wall Street Journal.
Amazon CEO Mike Hopkins, who handled the negotiations, contacted the couple personally to reassure them that their property was in good hands.
Jen Salke, the head of Amazon’s original content, is already in a relationship with Ms. Broccoli that is believed to ease the transition.
The pair have reportedly opposed previous overtures by studio drivers seeking to make a TV spin-off.
So Amazon won’t be able to incorporate the franchise into their own corporate entity, as has been the case with other characters such as Harry Potter, Iron Man or Luke Skywalker.
Since 1995, when GoldenEye was released, the two have run Eon Productions in London, inherited from Mrs. Broccoli’s father, Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli.
Mr. Broccoli is credited with transforming the movie series from its inception with Dr. No in 1962, who made $ 59.5 million at the box office, to the global blockbusting behemoth it is today, with $ 880.7 million roused with Specter. in 2015.
Sibling control is unusual in an industry where superpowers like LucasFilms Ltd are housed in Disney, which has used Star Wars branding on its toys, roller coasters and TV shows.
Mrs. Broccoli and Mr. Wilson are hands-on producers with an encyclopedic knowledge of Bond, the Journal reported.
Immersed in the movies since childhood, they have one goal: to keep the movies as close to their vision as possible.
Mrs. Broccoli, 60, worked as an assistant to the publicity department in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, and Mr. Wilson, 79, made a cameo as a soldier in the 1964 hit Goldfinger.
According to the Journal, Apple Inc. and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures have been exploring options to buy out the siblings in recent years. But they have opposed those efforts and other attempts to “ expand ” which, while lucrative, could be seen as a brand dilution.
Actors Barbara Bach and Roger Moore sit in front of an undersea tank at Pinewood Studios with producer Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli between them during the making of the James Bond movie ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’, 1977
Craig’s last Bond outing in No Time to Die has been put on hold by the pandemic
They stopped the late casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian who wanted to build a Bond-themed venue in Las Vegas, the paper reported, while a spin-off based on Jinx – Halle Berry’s character in Die Another Die – never materialized.
The upcoming movie, No Time to Die, is said to be one of the main reasons MGM eventually got sold.
At one point, Eon had considered selling the movie to a streaming giant instead of the endless wait for the cinemas to reopen amid the pandemic.
Amazon was one of the suitors, a source told the Journal, and one of the reasons executives eventually approached MGM chiefs.