One of the most iconic film series ever, James Bond has always been a hotly contested property for movie studios, TV producers and, now, two newcomers.
Apple and Amazon are reportedly throwing bids in for the rights to the world-famous secret agent, according to sources of The Hollywood Reporter.
This comes shortly after the current film deal between the rights holders, MGM and Eon, ran out with distributor Sony following the release of 2015's Spectre.
This leaves the 25th James Bond film, starring Daniel Craig and planned for a 2019 release, without a company to co-produce and distribute the film — leaving on the table not just a potential blockbuster but an important milestone in the top-grossing franchise.
Apple and Amazon aren't the only ones eyeing Bond, of course, as the usual big names in Hollywood like Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox, Universal, and Sony are also clamoring for a shot at 007.
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As for what Amazon or Apple could possibly do with the Bond brand, the report claims that the espionage franchise — estimated to be worth anywhere between $2 billion and $5 billion — has a lot of untapped potential outside of movies.
Under the management of either tech giant, the Bond name could be licensed out to a wider range of products and projects, akin to Disney's initiatives following its purchase of Marvel in 2009 and Star Wars in 2012.
A 007 television series, for example, could easily propel Amazon or Apple's video services, given Amazon's penchant for original programs courtesy of Amazon Prime Video and Apple reportedly getting into original shows for itself.
It's unclear if the companies' suspected bids are just for distribution rights of the 25th Bond film, or for the entire franchise outright. Should the latter be true, scoring exclusivity on 55 years of Bond filmography would be a nice feather in the cap for either one.
As for the 2019 Bond film, the future remains up to the highest bidder. While it looks like Warner Bros. is reportedly in the lead to snag the deal, the studio may have stiff competition — Amazon and Apple don't exactly have shallow pockets.
Top Image Credit: 007.com