It's time for James Bond to jump to streaming TV
- The producers who oversee the creative direction of the James Bond franchise, Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, told Variety in a new interview that they weren't ruling out streaming in the future.
- The franchise is a major force at the box office, but after nearly six decades on the big screen, there's also plenty of potential for it on the small screen, especially in the age of streaming TV.
- Apple and Amazon were once in the running to scoop up the Bond rights, a sign that it's not just traditional movie studios that find the franchise to be valuable.
- "Star Wars" is the perfect example of a movie franchise that successfully transitioned to streaming television with Disney Plus' "The Mandalorian" by telling new stories with new characters.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The James Bond franchise has spawned novels, movies, comics, and video games for nearly 70 years, but the one medium it has yet to fully dive into is television. With Bond being one of the longest-running franchises of all time, it's time to change that.
The producers who oversee the creative direction of the Bond films, Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson, told Variety in a new interview that they aren't ruling out streaming in the future.
"We make these films for the audiences," Broccoli said. "We like to think that they're going to be seen primarily on the big screen. But having said that, we have to look to the future. Our fans are the ones who dictate how they want to consume their entertainment. I don't think we can rule anything out, because it's the audience that will make those decisions. Not us."
As more platforms enter the streaming game, from Disney Plus to the upcoming HBO Max from WarnerMedia, and the battle for IP intensifies, Bond is a lucrative franchise waiting to be extended.
Amazon and Apple, which both have their own streaming services in Prime Video and Apple TV Plus, saw this potential. When the Bond film distribution rights were up for grabs from Sony following 2015's "Spectre," the two companies were in the running to scoop them up along with traditional movie studios, The Hollywood Reporter reported in 2017.
Ultimately, Universal Pictures landed the international distribution and home entertainment rights to the 25th Bond movie, "No Time to Die," in 2018, while MGM and Annapurna handle the domestic theatrical release. Beyond "No Time to Die," which hits theaters in April, Broccoli and Wilson told Variety that they haven't started to think about where the franchise will go - but they have more options than ever before.
The Bond movies have grossed nearly $7 billion worldwide combined over 24 movies since the first, "Dr. No," debuted in 1962. 2012's "Skyfall" was the first, and so far only, one to surpass $1 billion globally, but the followup, "Spectre," grossed $881 million. So Broccoli and Wilson's production company, Eon Productions, isn't likely to give up on theatrical releases - nor should it. Bond is a big-screen action-movie star, and that's worked out for over five decades.
But other popular movie franchises have successfully transitioned to the small screen.
A recent example is "Star Wars" with Disney Plus' "The Mandalorian," which steps outside of the theatrical Skywalker Saga to tell new stories with new characters. The show was the biggest series in the world (before being dethroned by Netflix's "The Witcher"), and is still the most in-demand show in the US, according to data company Parrot Analytics.
A streaming Bond TV show can similarly expand the franchise beyond Bond himself.
"No Time to Die" seems like it will toy with this potential by introducing a new 00 agent after Bond has retired named Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch. While the films of star Daniel Craig's era have been sequel-ized, breaking the franchise's tradition of them being standalone stories, "No Time to Die" is Craig's final outing as Bond. Why not expand on Nomi's story on the small screen? Better yet, why not introduce more 00 agents?
The possibility of a Bond series has been addressed before. Variety said that Broccoli and Wilson once shot down an idea for "a 'Smallville'-like television series that would have followed a teenage Bond at Eton."
While that specific idea wasn't realized, the streaming age is the perfect time to construct something different while the movies will presumably be on hiatus after "No Time to Die."