While MGM decided against selling the streaming rights to No Time to Die, there may be a financial incentive for them to change their minds. And soon.
According to THR, it’s costing MGM $1 million per month in interest alone as long as it’s delayed. In other words, they won’t be able to recoup any of that until the movie opens theatrically. The studio’s attempts to unload the film came in the days prior to delaying it until next April, and now we have a pretty good idea why.
This always looked like a very complicated deal, and now we know it was more difficult than we thought. MGM had to factor in not only the cost of production, but also compensation for Universal who have international distribution rights. On top of that, there was also figuring out Daniel Craig and producers’ back end deals. Finally, as was expected, Bond rights-holders Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson would be especially tough to convince, as she is seen as someone committed to the theatrical experience.
Variety weighs in with another aspect making things difficult for MGM, and that’s the studio’s lavish spending another new chairman, Michael DeLuca. Under a mandate to bring in “splashy” projects, DeLuca went wild buying films from Thomas Kail, George Miller, Joe Wright, Kenya Barris, Ridley Scott, and Paul Thomas Anderson. That includes paying $10M more than any other studio was willing to acquire Anderson’s coming-of-age film, while outspending others to acquire Ridley Scott’s Gucci drama and Project Hail Mary, a sci-fi project led by Ryan Gosling.
Finally, MGM was hoping to get somewhere between $650M-$700M to sell No Time to Die to streaming, but only Apple made a serious attempt. However, their offer was only in the ballpark of $400M for a 12-month lease. Those numbers aren’t going to push the needle for MGM, but don’t think for a second that this is over. The future of the next Bond film is going to be key to MGM’s fate long term. At some point a decision could be made that holding onto 007, in a fleeting hope it plays in theaters to a willing audience, may not be worth the cost.