Major studios are duking it out over the rights to James Bond

Daniel Craig is expected to return to play James Bond. For who though? No one knows. Image Sony

Daniel Craig is expected to return to play James Bond. For who though? No one knows. Image Sony

It's proven to be a worthy investment for Sony as Casino Royale and its subsequent three films collected a whopping $3.5 billion at the worldwide box office (after adjusting for inflation). The other studios are Warner Bros., Universal, 20th Century Fox, and indie powerhouse Annapurna Pictures-which was behind movies like Her, Zero Dark Thirty, and Kathryn Bigelow's upcoming Detroit-but the Times story doesn't say what kind of lavish stunts they've pulled in an attempt to woo MGM and Eon. But there's also the fact that Sony Pictures' four-film deal with MGM and Eon Productions to distribute to James Bond series ended in 2015 after the release of Spectre. As for Sony, their presentation took place inside a sound stage on a recreated set from the first James Bond movie, 1962's Dr. No. And while Bond would be a nice addition to massive studios like Sony, WB, Universal, and 20th Century Fox, it could be a game-changer for up-and-comer Annapurna, which only recently became a distributor and has stuck mostly to pushing auteur-driven cinema as opposed to blockbusters.

The rights to 007 films are actually owned by EON and MGM, but they only produce the movies and need a distributor to handle the marketing.

That's according to a new report from The New York Times, revealing that MGM and Eon, the two companies now in control of the film rights, are soliciting pitches from all parties - that's including Sony, which held a deal for the previous four films in the spy series: Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.

As for whether or not a new actor will be coming on to play Bond, producers are hoping to get Daniel Craig back for one more movie. Because Bond is a guaranteed hit.

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