MGM to partner with Annapurna in US distribution

Today, in a not very surprising move (things were roumored around for a while now) MGM and Annapurna announced a deal in US movie distribution.

On MGM site the announcement says:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Annapurna Pictures (Annapurna) have formed a new joint venture for theatrical distribution in the U.S., it was announced today by Gary Barber, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and Megan Ellison, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Annapurna Pictures.

The move marks the return to U.S. theatrical distribution for MGM, and the continued expansion of Annapurna, who launched their marketing and distribution arm earlier this year. While Annapurna and MGM will share funding for the joint venture’s operations, each studio will retain creative control over their individual projects. The marketing and distribution team established at Annapurna will facilitate campaigns for all MGM titles, which will be distributed under the MGM banner. Annapurna produced films will continue to be distributed under Annapurna’s already established label.

But what does this mean for Bond? Well, even if the announcement itself invites to calm down on Bond (Worldwide distribution plans for the 25th installment of the long-running James Bond franchise, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, will be announced at a later date.) we all know that this means that MGM is going to return to distribute the movie by itself (well, sort of).

This opens to a wide variety of thoughts: while this deal means that MGM will have a quite total control all over the movie creativity stage, with no more interference regarding the choices of directors, actors, but most important, of, for example, the brands of the piece of equipment the Spy and his teammates are going to use (we explored all the scenarios here), and we all know, by the news, that reportedly Sony wasn’t considered exactly the best option for technology by some of the parts involved, prior to SPECTRE.

It is not all sunshine and puppy dogs, tough. While the studio will have total creative control, a huge amount of money that came from the distributor will be missed. At this point, there are two possibilities: MGM will decrease the budget, and go (relatively) low cost or, and that is the option I’d bet my money on, will put its own money, betting on an (another) huge success to start the next chapter without Craig with a load of cash to use.

This announcement will also impact the director choice. While Villenevue has heavily hinted that the job has been offered to him, but due to some other projects constraint he was still reluctant to accept, now Kathryn Bigelow, Award winning director, linked to the company, could jump in as a front runner.

What we can do at the moment is speculate and wait. We’ll keep you posted