‘Skyfall’ Writer Worries Amazon Will Destroy 007 Franchise After MGM Buy: ‘Bond Is Not Content’06/02/2021
John Logan, a three-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter whose credits include the Daniel Craig-starring James Bond tentpoles “Skyfall” and “Spectre,” penned an essay for The New York Times expressing concern for the future of the 007 franchise in the wake of Amazon’s purchasing of MGM. As Logan writes, “With the acquisition of MGM and its movie catalogue, the online retail giant bought into the James Bond franchise. When I heard this news, a chill went through me…Bond isn’t just another franchise, not a Marvel or a DC; it is a family business that has been carefully nurtured and shepherded through the changing times by the Broccoli/Wilson family.”
While Amazon now has a stake in Bond, Eon Productions chiefs Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson are keeping their “ironclad assurances of continued artistic control,” Logan writes. What this means is that Eon still calls the shots when it comes to who becomes the next James Bond, when a new 007 gets released, and how a new 007 movie gets released (Eon has already come out with a statement saying Bond is for theaters, not streaming). However, Logan can’t help but wonder and worry if this will always be the case.
“What happens if a bruising corporation like Amazon begins to demand a voice in the process?” Logan asks. “What happens to the comradeship and quality control if there’s an Amazonian overlord with analytics parsing every decision? What happens when focus groups report they don’t like Bond drinking martinis? Or killing quite so many people? And that English accent’s a bit alienating, so could we have more Americans in the story for marketability?”
Logan later writes that Amazon is “not necessarily a champion or guardian of artistic creativity or original entertainment. In the context of the larger company, Amazon Prime Video is not chiefly about artists. It’s about attracting and retaining customers. And when bigger companies start having a say in iconic characters or franchises, the companies tend to want more, not better, and the quality differential can vary wildly, project to project. (See: the rapidly expanding ‘Star Wars’ franchise at Disney and the DC Comics franchises of Superman, Batman and others at Warner Bros.)”
“Bond’s not ‘content,’ and he’s not a mere commodity,” Logan concludes. “He has been a part of our lives for decades now. From Sean Connery to George Lazenby to Roger Moore to Timothy Dalton to Pierce Brosnan to Daniel Craig, we all grew up with our version of 007, so we care deeply about him. Please let 007 drink his martinis in peace. Don’t shake him, don’t stir him.”
The next James Bond tentpole, the Cary Fukunaga-directed “No Time to Die,” is set for U.S. release in theaters on October 8. Head over to The New York Times’ website to read Logan’s essay in its entirety.
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