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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MGM Wins Rights for Bond Movies




LOS ANGELES -- James Bond, 007, holstered his pistol and went home as two rival movie studios settled a legal battle over rights to make movies about the globe-trotting super spy.


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and partner Danjaq LLC, makers of Bond classics like "Goldfinger" and the recent hit "Tomorrow Never Dies," and Sony Pictures Entertainment agreed Monday that MGM would have exclusive rights to make Bond movies, ending a court battle that began in late 1997.


As part of the agreement, both Sony and MGM wound up making payments to each other, a spokesman for MGM said.


He said MGM agreed to pay Sony $10 million to buy the rights for one of only two Bond movies that MGM and Danjag did not control, the 1967 film "Casino Royale." Under the agreement, Sony would not make a Bond film for international distribution.


Sony agreed to pay MGM $5 million to settle the issues in the trial - namely who had rights to make and distribute Bond films in the United States, the spokesman added.


"The end of this case reaffirms that James Bond resides at one address - that of MGM and Danjaq," MGM chairman Frank Mancuso said in a statement.


The other movie MGM does not control is 1965's "Thunderball," which remains in dispute with producer Kevin McClory, who was not a party to the settlement.


The legal entanglement between MGM and Sony Pictures, the studio wing of electronics giant Sony Corp., began when McClory signed a deal with Sony to produce Bond movies.


McClory co-wrote "Thunderball" with James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, and by virtue of his work on the screenplay, he owns rights to "Thunderball" and its characters.