Apple and Netflix discussed acquiring ‘Bond’ movie for streaming

·2-min read
MATERA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 09: Actress Léa Seydoux and actor Daniel Craig pose as they arrive on set of the James Bond last movie "No Time To Die" on September 09, 2019 in Matera, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Actress Léa Seydoux and actor Daniel Craig pose on set of the James Bond movie "No Time To Die" on 9 September 2019 in Matera, Italy. (PHOTO: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

By Mark Gurman, Kelly Gilblom and Lucas Shaw

(Bloomberg) -- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. held discussions with Apple Inc. and Netflix Inc. about taking its new James Bond film directly to streaming, according to people familiar with the situation, but the studio says it’s committed to a theatrical release.

The film, “No Time to Die,” could fetch hundreds of millions of dollars in a potential streaming sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. MGM declined to comment on any talks, but said the film “is not for sale.”

“The film’s release has been postponed until April 2021 in order to preserve the theatrical experience for moviegoers,” an MGM representative said.

Netflix and Apple declined to comment. Amazon Studios, another shopper for big-budget entertainment for its streaming service, said Friday that it’s not currently in talks to acquire the Bond film.

The MGM feature was originally scheduled to hit theatres in April 2020, but it was delayed until November after the Covid-19 pandemic forced theatres around the world to shut down. Even though cinemas have begun to reopen, consumers have been slow to return, and studios have been reluctant to release their biggest pictures. Earlier this month, “No Time to Die” was pushed back again until April 2021.

Nabbing the rights to “No Time to Die,” would have been a major coup for a streaming service and could have helped entice subscribers looking to watch the latest Bond movie. The Daniel Craig film, which cost about $250 million to produce, would be the most notable movie to switch to streaming due to the pandemic, though other films have taken a similar route.

Horror film “Antebellum” launched on premium home video in September, while “Mulan” debuted on Disney+ with a $30 charge. Apple also landed the movie “Greyhound” with Tom Hanks due to the pandemic. It debuted in July.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.