James Bond Movies Will Continue To Be Made For A "Worldwide Theatrical Audience" In Wake Of MGM/Amazon Deal

Today, Amazon closed a deal to buy MGM. That deal includes a backlog of James Bond films, which might make some folks immediately assume that any new Bond movie will be dropping directly onto Amazon Prime Video instead of heading to theaters. But it looks like that's not the case. Bond franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have both committed to keeping 007 a theatrical experience. Of course, it's also worth noting that the rights to Bond aren't as simple as you might think.

As I'm sure you're aware of by now, Amazon has officially purchased MGM for $8.45 billion. But don't let that make you think the upcoming Bond film No Time to Die, or any future 007 flicks will be going straight to Amazon Prime. Per Variety, "James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have committed to keeping the iconic British spy in theaters."

"We are committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience," Broccoli and Wilson said in a statement.

The Bond rights are a little sticky. MGM does not flat-out own Bond movies. The rights to earlier films in the series are co-owned by MGM and Danjaq, which is a holding company created by Eon, the company that Broccoli and Wilson run. While Eon produces the films, Danjaq holds the rights to them. The Craig-era Bond movies are co-owned by MGM, Danjaq, and Columbia Pictures (Columbia is owned by Sony). Then you have to take into consideration home video and streaming rights, which appear to be in the hands of MGM.

Variety adds:

Under a deal first hammered out by Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, MGM has the right to finance and distribute all of the Bond movies, and the studio splits the profits with Eon. However, Broccoli's heirs and Eon's chiefs, Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother Michael G. Wilson, still have final say on everything from the film's marketing and distribution plans to Craig's successor. Together, they have unprecedented creative control over the franchise.

It looks like deals are still being worked out to determine how quickly MGM theatrical releases can make their way to Amazon Prime Video – Paramount Pictures, for example, recently set up a 45 day window between when their movies hit theaters and when they drop onto streaming service Paramount+. But for now, the next Bond film, and the last Bond film of the Craig era, No Time to Die, is still set for a theatrical release on October 8.