MGM and Danjaq announce they have acquired all rights and interests of the estate of Kevin McClory
James Bond has battled many villains, but his longest running fifty-year saga that has dogged 007 with legal battles and rogue projects is finally over.
Almost exactly 50 years on from the November 26th 1963 out-of-court settlement that saw Ian Fleming end lengthy litigation with Kevin McClory over the copyright and film rights to 'Thunderball', Danjaq and MGM today announced they have acquired rights and interests owned by the McClory estate, bringing all remaining Bond intellectual property under one roof.
A proud and stubborn man up until his death in 2006, McClory often tried to launch rival Bond projects to fly in the face of the official series based on the 'Thunderball' case. McClory sold some of his rights to Sony in 1997, who then tried to launch a rival 007 series, but settled with MGM in a reported 'swap' for claims on Spider-Man. MGM then acquired 'Never Say Never Again'. Ironically, a few years later Sony lead a buy-out of MGM and have bankrolled the Daniel Craig era with MGM in a partnership that will continue to at least Bond 25. So with no studio willing to take on the legal ramifications of a another rogue Bond production, a 2001 court ruling against McClory, and the man himself dead, it was only a matter of time until the heirs to his estate would sell out and cash in on his rights.
MGM, Danjaq and the McClory estate issued a statement today saying that they have brought to an “amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically for over 50 years.”
Details of the settlement were not disclosed, but it's a fair assumption that the estate received more than a delicatessen in stainless steel.
The McClory estate was represented by William K. Kane and Adam Skilken of BakerHostetler LLP in Chicago. “We were pleased to represent the estate of Kevin McClory in bringing to resolution this lengthy and contentious copyright dispute over the James Bond franchise,” Kane said in a statement. “The 50-year intellectual property row involving James Bond was settled because of a great deal of hard work by the attorneys for the estate of Kevin McClory, MGM, and Danjaq and will benefit James Bond film fans throughout the world.”