Included among the companies bidding for distribution rights to the James Bond franchise? Apple and Amazon, according to a report in The Hollywood Reporter that details how valuable this franchise, which is among the only brands in play in terms of rights, is to the potential winner.
Amazon makes a certain amount of sense as it’s ramped up its feature film activities in the last two years. It would be a huge get for the company, no doubt, but that’s almost at the level of being an expected party in the same way Warner Bros. and other studios are.
Apple, though. I’ve long wondered what would happen if Apple got involved in either producing or acquiring original feature films. It recently made news by announcing it had put aside $1 billion for the development of original content, but I have to think Bond money would come from outside of that. Still, it shows the company believes that’s the game to play, original material, and will throw its substantial weight around.
I would think that if Apple were successful with Bond – or whenever it does finally enter the feature film landscape – it would change the distribution equation significantly. Apple is already one of the biggest forces angling for changes in theatrical windowing and this may the stick that sends it into open warfare with Hollywood. There’s a chance it could adopt the Amazon model of release schedules, but it doesn’t have Amazon’s vested interest in multiple formats, just the digital one.
Bond is a big card for any distributor to have in its hand. The franchise shows no sign of slowing down at all and the new face that will take on the role some time in the next five years after Daniel Craig stands down will only increase interest. It could be a big wedge for Apple to use to enter the film acquisition and production market, one that is as close to a sure thing as they come.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.