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No, Mr. Bond… I expect you to LIVE!

April 20th, 2010 No comments

Auric Goldfinger couldn’t do it…

Ernst Stravro Blofeld failed a bunch of times… Rosa Klebb… Even the nefarious agents of SMERSH and SPECTRE never got it together.

But it looks like MGM’s money woes have done something James Bond’s storied villains could only dream of: stop him in his tracks. Who knows? Maybe they’ve killed him altogether. But I seriously doubt it. You see, this ‘corpse’ is STILL worth a lot of money.

To understand the Bond franchise is to comprehend a family money-making machine so powerful it is practically the last  feather (to strain a metaphor) in the cap atop MGM’s Leo the Lion’s fleabitten brow… “Bond 23,” the latest planned Bond picture, is tightly controlled – as most have been – by original producer’s Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s daughter Barbara and her stepbrother Michael Wilson; they control the family business, the billion-dollar Bond franchise, since ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s death in 1996. The next film was set to be scripted by Peter Morgan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade; Purvis and Wade were the scriptwriters who rebooted the franchise with “Casino Royale” in 2006, and the recent “Quantum of Solace.” But the Bond franchise would be about the only other franchise the aging lion has to offer in a sale. Sure, they have the “Pink Panther” series, but the two best cards MGM/UA still holds in the interests of a possible sale are its rights in the Bond franchise and two planned “Hobbit” films, all of which are potentially hamstrung by MGM’s never-ending sale process. Although it’s unlikely the “Hobbit” powers that be, namely Peter Jackson and New Line Pictures (New Line was recently re-absorbed by Time/Warner), won’t let that happen, either.

But never count-out a British secret agent – or a wily hobbit. In the end, although it will certainly mean the end of the MGM imprimatur, the ailing for-sale studio will probably auction off its last valuable properties, leaving it only with a ‘famous’ logo and a popular (if aging) film library.