Over the weekend, it was reported that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had been in discussions with the likes of Netflix, Apple, and Amazon to acquire No Time To Die. Originally slated for international release back in April of this year, the four-time delayed Bond film was apparently being offered at a price of US$600 million for a one-year license. But as sources have since clarified, negotiations soon fell apart.
The proposed distribution model would have entailed something similar to that of Disney+ and Mulan – hosted on the same platform as the rest of the company’s content catalogue, incurring an additional charge to stream right there and then, and later becoming widely available to all subscribers without an additional charge. Given the sheer hype surrounding Bond, and specifically the latest instalment which will mark the end of Daniel Craig‘s tenure, it could have potentially generated hundreds of millions in video-on-demand revenue.
US$600 million, however, proved to be a little pricey… even for the likes of Netflix and Apple, who have historically given its content creators carte blanche (often to a detriment). According to Deadline, none of the streamers were willing to pay more than US$300 million, which I assume is a figure based on the No Time To Die production budget plus US$50 million extra for their troubles. It’s worth noting that US$250 million – and US$300 million, for that matter – doesn’t cover what I also assume is a hefty marketing budget.
Principal producer and longtime custodian of the Bond franchise – Barbara Broccoli – claimed these aforementioned discussions were purely exploratory, to see just how much of the expenses they could recoup in the face of an unprecedented landscape; not to mention, how close they could get to making what will likely be a billion dollars in box office revenue. Delays have naturally been hemorrhaging money from MGM, having lost somewhere between US$30 million and US$50 million due to delays. And the people are growing ravenous.
Releasing big-name titles via streaming platforms isn’t exactly unheard of these days, with Netflix and Amazon leading the charge. The former has obviously been dropping such headline-making titles as Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, the Safdie Brother’s Uncut Gems, and countless others – many of which have garnered critical acclaim and even Oscar nods; while the latter has started to find their feet in this regard, premiering Borat 2 last week, and on track to premiere Coming 2 America this December.
The only question at this point in time is whether MGM will hold steadfast and press on towards its conventional April 2021 release (“… to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers.” – MGM representative), or whether they’ll cave to both public demand and economics by taking a risk online.