Apple, Amazon bid for James Bond film rights in effort to gain Hollywood foothold

Retail giant Amazon and iPhone maker Apple face competition from Warner Bros, Sony, MGM, Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox for franchise worth up to US$5 billion

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 11:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 11:03am

Apple and Amazon have joined a bevy of suitors bidding for distribution rights for the lucrative James Bond movies that depict the exploits of Britain’s most famous fictional spy, The Hollywood Reporter said on Wednesday.

Mega-retailer Amazon and iPhone maker Apple are hoping to gain a strong foothold in Hollywood. Their competition for the Bond film distribution rights includes Time Warner’s Warner Bros, Sony, MGM, Comcast’s Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Amazon and Apple are willing to pay about the same amount for the rights as Warner Bros, the magazine said, citing anonymous sources. It did not give a figure. The Bond franchise is worth between US$2 billion and US$5 billion, an industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Hollywood Reporter. Apple and Amazon were not immediately available for comment.

Sony previously owned the distribution rights, but they expired with the 2015 release of the latest Bond film, Spectre. That movie took in about US$880 million at the global box office, according to film tracker BoxOfficeMojo.com.

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James Bond, created by British author Ian Fleming, first burst onto the silver screen in 1962 in the hit Dr. No, starring Sean Connery as the British secret agent. A plethora of Bond films followed, starring Connery and several actors who succeeded him in the role, including Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Bond has most recently been played by Daniel Craig.

Amazon has been spending billions of dollars to create and license TV shows and films. Earlier this year, company unit Amazon Studios scored a best-actor Oscar for Casey Affleck’s portrayal of a grieving man in the movie Manchester by the Sea. The movie also won an Academy Award for best original screenplay.

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Apple, which is relatively new to the world of original content, began a long-awaited move into television in June with a reality show called Planet of the Apps.