Disney Is now the big dog on campus. It’s own huge library and IP coupled with Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and now Fox. It’s unstoppable. Disney+ is a shot across the bows of all other channels and streamers as they synergise their products across different outlets.
Do they have another super franchise in their sites as the seek to remove all competition? Maybe.
Disney CEO Bob Iger was just named Business Person Of The Year in Time Magazine and, always the tease, dropped a little nugget when asked about future acquisitions.
Iger was clear he wasn’t proactively seeking another acquisition but when asked directly if there is one franchise he wished Disney owned he said:
“We’re not looking to buy anything right now, but I’ve always been a huge James Bond fan.”
The question is, in what capacity could Disney ever get their hands on Bond? It has been in the Broccoli family for generations, through Eon Productions and Danjaq SA. In that time they have aggressively fought off legal challenges around the rights ownership, including against Thunderball co-writer Kevin McClory who created 1983 remake Never Say Never Again outside the franchise.
The last legal battle concluded in 2004 when they finally won the rights back to Casino Royale which launched the Daniel Craig era.
The property has moved from studio to studio, but only with the studio as distributors. From United Artists to MGM to Sony with MGM and now, with No Time To Die, to Universal. But Eon and the Broccoli clan still own it, and control it totally.
As Sony’s Amy Pascal discovered to her cost, you can send all the studio notes you like, the Producers deal means they don’t have to act on any of them, and they can creatively do what they like. The studio just distributes and takes it’s cuts of the profits and their arrangement ends there.
That clearly doesn’t sound like a Disney type of gig. They will want to own and control. So in order for them to achieve this they would require the Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson to be willing to cash out and walk away from the franchise.
Given the protectiveness of the family towards their fathers legacy that doesn’t seem possible. However money does talk, and they have been doing this a long time.
The Craig 007 movies have been a single arc that is all connected. This is ending with closure in No Time To Die as Craig retires from the role. The search for a new 007 will kick into high gear as the franchise renews again. Could this be an opportune moment to break and let somebody else pay them “fuck you” money to retire on?
No Time to Die arrives in cinemas on April 8th 2020.