10th February 2022
What will the ecosystem under which Bond 26 will be made look like?
By MI6 Staff
News broke this week that the merger between Warner Media and Discover has been given the green light by US regulators to create an entertainment giant in a $43b deal. It paves the way for Amazon's takeover of MGM to also get the rubber stamp later this year, although it had been feared that Congressional oversight could have significantly slowed down the transaction. With 'Warner Bros. Discovery' now happening, it should only be a matter of time before Amazon closes on MGM.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video took out a 10-year lease agreement on Shepperton Studios in the UK. Seen as the little brother to Pinewood Studios, it has hosted a multitude of films productions but has recently been home to TV production. Amazon Prime Video is a separate division from Amazon Studios, and if you know anything about how Amazon works, they are unlikely to be sharing studio space. Pinewood Studios itself is now under a 10-year lease agreement with Marvel / Disney, so this could see a future James Bond production locked out of the two biggest sound stage facilities in the UK, forcing it to either build another studio from scratch (as happened with 'GoldenEye' and 'Tomorrow Never Dies') or go overseas for the bulk of filming (just like 'Moonraker', 'Licence To Kill', and 'Casino Royale').
With the Amazon take over of MGM nearing completion, current MGM bosses Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy were quizzed by Deadline this week about the future of the studio and James Bond.
Asked about the invitations for streaming services to bid on 'No Time To Die' as cinemas were closed down, De Luca re-wrote a bit of history and played down the idea that much happened. "It didn’t go far, but obviously we have a responsibility to field phone calls which is really as far as it got," he said. "Phone calls were fielded, but there was never a thought to turn Bond into a TV movie from anyone involved including the studio and certainly Barbara and Michael."
On the topic of what the future holds under Amazon ownership, De Luca said: "We just don’t know. Everybody has questions — what’s it gonna look like, how’s it gonna work, what’s the future of theatrical — all the questions you’d expect; we just don’t have answers to a lot of them."
Beyond who will play 007 next, there are many questions about Bond 26 for which answers may be a long time coming.