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MGM and Danjaq announce acquisition of McClory's James Bond rights

18 November, 2013

Danjaq, LLC, the producer of the James Bond films, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), the longtime distributor of the Bond films, along with the estate and family of the late Kevin McClory, announced today that Danjaq and MGM have acquired all of the estate’s and family’s rights and interests relating to James Bond, thus bringing to an amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically for over 50 years.

No details of the agreement or a settlement have been released. McClory produced the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again and owned the rights to the name of the evil organisation S.P.E.C.T.R.E. and villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. If the villain and his organisation will return in a future Bond movie, or if Never Say Never Again will become part of future releases of the complete Bond film set, is not yet known. 

Thunderball

In the late 1950s, Kevin McClory worked with Bond creator Ian Fleming and writer Jack Whittingham on a script for Thunderball. McClory would later claim he helped created a number of iconic elements of the Bond world and gave the character a more movie-friendly persona. A long legal battle began in 1961 when Kevin McClory first sued Ian Fleming. McClory obtained partial copyright to the Thunderball story in a 1963 settlement. The fourth Bond movie, Thunderball came out in 1965. 

In the decades that followed, McClory and Bond producers and MGM, which distributes the films, went head to head in court a number of times. Working with Warner Bros, McClory used his Thunderball rights to bring back Sean Connery to play Bond again in 1983’s Never Say Never Again.

Never Say Never Again

McClory subsequently continued to try to make other adaptations of Thunderball, including Warhead 2000 A.D. which was to be made by Sony. MGM/UA took legal action against Sony and McClory in the United States to prevent the film going into production. MGM/UA abandoned the claim after settling with Sony. McClory's rights were untouched. Kevin McClory died in 2006, a few days after the release of the movie Casino Royale

For more information about the legal issues between McClory and Fleming, read the book The Battle for Bond or watch the excellent documentary Everything or Nothing: the untold  story of 007 (2012).

About Danjaq, LLC
Danjaq is the company that co-owns, with MGM, the copyright in the existing James Bond films and controls the right to produce future James Bond films as well as all worldwide merchandising. The 007 franchise is the longest running in film history with twenty-three films produced since 1962.

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and distribution of film and television content globally. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content. In addition, MGM has investments in domestic and international television channels.

About BakerHostetler LLP
The Estate of Kevin McClory was represented by Partner William K. Kane (Chicago) and Partner Adam Skilken (Chicago) of the law firm of BakerHostetler LLP.


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