What Amazon's MGM deal means for 'No Time To Die' and the future of James Bond

·Senior Editor
·5 min read
James Bond (Daniel Craig) in No Time To Die an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film
(Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.)
Daniel Craig as James Bond in No Time To Die. (DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.)

After much rumour and speculation, Amazon has finally agreed a deal to acquire Hollywood studio MGM for $8.45bn (£5.9bn), and with it No Time To Die, the next James Bond film.

It's the second-largest acquisition ever for the online shopping giant (after it bought Whole Foods for $14bn in 2017) and one that's squarely aimed at its ongoing battle in the streaming wars. 

Buying the studio, famed for its roaring lion logo, brings with it access to a huge library of films and TV shows (17,000!), which it will use to bolster the catalogue of titles available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, allowing to compete with Netflix, Disney+ et al.

The headline brand — or intellectual property (IP) — that the acquisition brings to Amazon is undoubtedly the James Bond film series. 

Read more: Who could be the next James Bond?

As soon as the news was announced, there were calls online for Amazon to put the much-delayed No Time To Die onto Prime Video immediately. 

Unsurprising really when 007 fans have been waiting for Daniel Craig's swan song since 2019, but also incredibly unlikely.

M (Ralph Fiennes) and James Bond (Daniel Craig) in 'No Time to Die'. (Credit: Eon/Instagram)
M (Ralph Fiennes) and James Bond (Daniel Craig) in No Time to Die. (Eon/Instagram)

In truth, by buying MGM, Amazon doesn't actually become the owners of the James Bond franchise - they become partners in it with Eon Productions. 

The company behind all 25 official James Bond films is run by half-siblings Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, who retain an incredible amount of control over the long-running film series, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2022.

Read more: The best James Bond films according to its fans

"[Broccoli and Wilson] wield almost unique creative power over James Bond," explains Ajay Chowdury, editor/spokesperson for the James Bond International Fan Club.

MONTEGO BAY, JAMAICA - APRIL 25:  (L-R) Producer Michael G Wilson, cast member Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli attend the
Producer Michael G Wilson, cast member Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli attend the Bond 25 film launch in 2019. (Getty Images for Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures)

"The series has usually been made on a film-by-film basis allowing the makers to have final say on all aspects of the finished result from casting to music to marketing. 

"Wilson and Broccoli's knowledge of their brand has allowed them to continue making each 007 entry a bespoke cinema experience."

They're both advocates for the big screen experience too, hence their reticence to sell No Time To Die to a streaming platform during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Because the latest opus No Time to Die is on pandemic pause does not automatically imply it will now just hit Amazon's online streams," adds pop culture pundit Mark O'Connell, author of Catching Bullets: Memoirs of Bond Fan.

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"The latest Bond film does already have inked in deals and obligations elsewhere - including theatrical distribution." 

No Time To Die is a unique proposition with Universal Pictures to distributing the film globally, while MGM will handle North America, adding a further wrinkle to the streaming conversation.

Where Amazon's acquisition of MGM will begin to impact the future for James Bond will be on Bond 26, the film that will inevitably follow after No Time To Die. 

O'Connell thinks Amazon's financial clout should offer a tantalising prospect for its fans who've suffered many setbacks over the years with the film series often hampered by studio politics.

UKRAINE - 2021/05/18: In this photo illustration the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) logo of US media company is seen on a smartphone screen with an Amazon logo in the background. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo is seen on a smartphone screen with an Amazon logo in the background. (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

"The saga and history of MGM has been an ever complicated, debt-ridden game of corporate tag that has almost tripped 007 up more than once," adds O'Connell. 

"MGM has also not really been the golden studio stalwart that roaring lion suggests. Like all big movie behemoths, its backlot glory days faltered decades ago and Bond deserves a fresh start."

"As Daniel Craig hangs up his Walther PPK after No Time to Die, it makes total and potentially astute sense in a new media world for Bond's future fortunes to be aligned to a shiny new big brother who definitely has the cash, the younger tech reach and the Hollywood ambitions, stability and momentums that the 007th Bond actor and his era needs."

Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and James Bond (Daniel Craig) in No Time To Die an EON Productions and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios film
(Nicola Dove © 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.)
Nomi (Lashana Lynch) and James Bond (Daniel Craig) in No Time To Die. (DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.)

So while fans can still expect to wait for No Time To Die to land in cinemas later this year, they'll no doubt also be keeping one eye on the 60th anniversary plans of 2022 for big news on the future of iconic spy franchise.

"With a new Bond actor expected to be recast and modern franchise films being led by Marvel with interconnected TV and film projects, pressure might be brought bear to increase the output of content concerning Ian Fleming's most famous spy," sums up Chowdhury.

No Time To Die will come to UK cinemas on 30 September. 

Watch the No Time To Die trailer