James Bond, meet Jeff Bezos. After Amazon.com Inc agreed to purchase movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $8.45 billion earlier this year, many fans assumed the e-commerce giant wholly owned the rights to the James Bond franchise.
But the long-running spy film series—set to continue with its 25th film, No Time to Die, on Oct. 8—is only half-owned by Amazon.
According to The New York Times, the other half is owned by Barbara Broccoli and her half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, through their Eon Productions shingle.
In fact, Broccoli and Wilson have "ironclad" creative control over the franchise, the newspaper reports. The duo decides when a new James Bond film gets made, whether remakes or TV spinoffs should happen, and who plays the iconic spy role.
And, as if to allay concerns that future James Bond installments would only stream on Amazon Prime after the company’s MGM deal, Broccoli and Wilson said in a statement to Variety this May that they were "committed to continuing to make James Bond films for the worldwide theatrical audience."
There were some concerns about Amazon’s oversight of the franchise.
Screenwriter John Logan — who co-wrote the two most recent James Bond films, 2012’s Skyfall and 2015’s Spectre — penned a New York Times opinion about the Amazon-MGM deal this May, saying he was worried about Amazon’s influence on 007.
“It’s not that it’s a bad-faith company. It’s that it’s a global technology company with a more than $1.6 trillion market capitalization that produces on a mass scale and is obsessed with the ‘customer experience,’” John wrote. “It’s not necessarily a champion or guardian of artistic creativity or original entertainment.”
He elaborated: “The Bond movies are truly the most bespoke and handmade films I’ve ever worked on. That’s why they are original, thorny, eccentric, and special. They were never created with lawyers and accountants and e-commerce mass marketing pollsters hovering in the background.”
Broccoli and Wilson will have to think about James Bond’s future, but it won’t include Amazon TV shows.
No Time to Die marks Daniel Craig’s final film as James Bond, which means Broccoli and Wilson will have to decide on the franchise’s next step. “I think we just really want to celebrate this and celebrate Daniel, and then when the dust settles, then look at the landscape and figure out what the future is,” Broccoli told Total Film in a recent interview.
But don’t expect a James Bond TV show to hit Amazon’s Prime Video service any time soon: Broccoli and Wilson have no intentions to bring 007 to the small screen. “We make films,” Broccoli contended. “We make films for the cinema. That’s what we do.”
Added Wilson: “We’ve resisted that call for 60 years.”
Public interest groups asked the FTC to stop Amazon from purchasing MGM.
On Aug. 31, thirty-four groups — including Writers Guild of America West, the Main Street Alliance, and the National Employment Law Project — sent a letter asking the Federal Trade Commission to block the Amazon-MGM deal, per Deadline.
“This acquisition is not simply a one-off deal for streaming content; it is the latest move in Amazon’s overarching strategy to create numerous interconnected points of dominance over businesses and consumers,” the groups wrote in the letter, which was addressed to FTC chair Lina Khan.
After outlining grievances about Amazon, the groups argued that the company’s “unfettered expansion and dominance” threatens the “dynamism and success” of the American economy.
“The proposed acquisition of MGM would give an already abusive monopoly even more weapons to use against consumers, businesses, and workers,” they added.