Who would have thought Sony has reached the end of the road regarding the distribution of the James Bond series? 007’s latest adventure, SPECTRE, is the final film in the deal for Sony to distribute. Of course, the series is going to continue. President of Highland Capital Management, James Dondero recommends that Sony could negotiate a deal to release the future projects or the series could move under the banner of another distributor.
MGM is the production house that handles the actual making the Bond film. MGM originally signed a distribution deal with Sony for Casino Royale back in 2003. That deal awarded Sony distribution rights for the next several bond films. Apparently, Sony only signed a deal to distribute four films. This way, Sony could free itself from being locked into distributing movies if things with MGM did not work out. Daniel Craig turned out to be a major success as the new Bond. Sony, however, has no lock on the Bond series beyond SPECTRE.
The previous Bond film, Skyfall, earned $1 billion at the box office. SPECTRE should do similar earnings. All the studios are likely to offer a huge amount of money for the rights. Will Sony be willing to put up massive amounts of cash to keep the series. Likely, the executives at Sony are probably annoyed (to put it mildly) that they did not procure a distribution deal of ten films.
Granted, SPECTRE is going to run into major troubles delivering a huge profit margin. The budget is roughly $300 million and the film surely has to do over $1 billion again to deliver a sizeable return.