A bidding war for the 'James Bond' franchise rights is brewing between tech giants Apple and Amazon
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A bidding war for the ‘James Bond’ franchise rights is brewing between tech giants Apple and Amazon

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Development on James Bond 25 is well underway with franchise veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade on scripting duties, while Yann Demange, Denis Villeneuve, and David Mackenzie are the top three frontrunners to direct Daniel Craig, who recently announced that he would reprise his role as the world’s most favorite MI6 agent earlier this month, in the upcoming action film, which is expected to be released in November of 2019.

In the midst of all this, though, is a bidding war brewing between what The Hollywood Reporter calls “a couple of unlikely suitors,” who are looking to nab the rights to the long-running franchise, which is worth an estimated $5 billion, from Warner Bros. in an effort to tap into much more than just film rights.

The trade reports that tech giants Apple and Amazon are now in the running to purchase the film rights from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer after the studio’s deal with Sony expired after the release of Spectre, the 24th installment in the franchise, in 2015. However, Warners is not going down without a fight, and THR says they’re “pressing MGM hard to close a deal.”

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Amazon Studios, the online retailer’s film and television development and production division, has seen quite a bit of success in the world of Hollywood, lately. The studio’s low-budget indie rom-com The Big Sick was a huge critical and financial success, grossing more than $49 million at the worldwide box office, while last year’s Manchester by the Sea was up for several Academy Awards back in February.

Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht left Sony Pictures Television for Apple this summer, and one could only imagine what kind of deal they’re looking to cut with MGM, especially since the original report claims that both Apple and Amazon are willing to spend the same amount, if not more, than what Warner Bros. is offering for the rights to James Bond, which could open up a whole new world of unmined television potential for Apple.

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Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson save the world in a new ‘Men in Black: International’ trailer

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Men in Black: International
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Sony Pictures has released a new trailer for Men in Black: International, the newest installment in the long-dormant franchise that originally starred Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, which now finds Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the lead roles.

MIB: International follows Agent H (Hemsworth) and Agent M (Thompson) as they carry out their usual duties of protecting the Earth from the alien scum of the universe. However, things become increasingly more dangerous for the pair when they’re assigned to their biggest mission yet: identifying a mole in the Men in Black organization.

In addition to Hemsworth and Thompson, the reboot also stars Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois, and Emma Thompson, who reprises her role from Men in Black 3.

F. Gary Gray, who directed 2015’s Straight Outta Compton and 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, helmed MIB: International using a script written by Art Marcum and Matt Halloway, based on the Malibu Comic by Lowell Cunningham.

Men in Black franchise veterans Walter F. Parkes and Laurie MacDonald produced the film, with Steven Spielberg, E. Bennett Walsh, Riyoko Tanaka, David Beaubaire, Edward Cheng, Howard Chen, and Barry Sonnenfeld serving as executive producers.

Men in Black: International will hit theaters on June 14.

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‘Bond 25’ reveals full cast and plot details, but no title, as production begins to get underway

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Bond 25
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In a special live streamed announcement on Thursday, the team behind Bond 25, including producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and director Cary Joji Fukunaga, revealed a number of key details about the long-awaited next chapter in the classic British spy franchise, stopping just short of the film’s title.

Fukunaga, who signed on to direct Bond 25 following the departure of Danny Boyle last year, confirmed the returning cast which, in addition to Daniel Craig in the titular role, also includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Jeffrey Wright.

As for the newcomers, Ana de Armas is set to join the cast along with Dali Benssalah, David Dencik, Lashana Lynch, Billy Magnussen, and Rami Malek, who confirmed that he will be playing the film’s main villain, adding that he promises to make sure “that Mr. Bond does not have an easy ride in this.”

The film will find Bond having left active service and enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. However, his peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade wrote the screenplay for the movie along with Fukunaga, Scott Z. Burns, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with the latter two having taken the most recent pass at the script.

Production on Bond 25, which will commence on Sunday, April 28, will be based at Pinewood Studios in the UK and on location in London, Italy, Norway, and Jamaica, where today’s announcement took place at GoldenEye, the former home of Bond creator Ian Fleming.

“We’re thrilled to return to Jamaica with Bond 25, Daniel Craig’s fifth installment in the 007 series, where Ian Fleming created the iconic James Bond character and Dr. No and Live And Let Die were filmed,” Wilson and Broccoli said.

Bond 25 is set to be released in the U.K. on April 3, 2020 and April 8, 2020 in the U.S.

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Lili Taylor and Stefania LaVie Owen to star in the coming-of-age indie drama ‘Paper Spiders’

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Paper Spiders
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Lili Taylor and Stefania LaVie Owen have been cast as the leads in Inon Shampanier’s indie drama Paper Spiders, a bittersweet story about coming-of-age in the shadow of mental illness. The film is expected to begin production in Syracuse, New York later this month.

Written by Inon and Natalie Shampanier, Paper Spiders follows Melanie (Owen), a high school senior struggling to help her mother Dawn (Taylor), whose paranoid delusions spiral out of control.

“I am thrilled to work with these incredibly talented actresses,” Inon Shampanier said in a statement. “Lili Taylor and Stefania Owen bring great tenderness and depth to this mother-daughter story.”

Anne Clements is producing Paper Spiders for Idiot Savant Pictures along with Ash Christian for Cranium Entertainment.

Taylor, repped by APA and Untitled Entertainment, was seen most recently in last year’s The Nun, where she reprised her role from the 2013 blockbuster horror hit The Conjuring. She can be seen next in the upcoming indie The Evening Hour.

Owen is repped by McKeon/Myones Entertainment and Paradigm Talent Agency and can currently be seen onscreen starring opposite Matthew McConaughey in Harmony Korine’s stoner comedy The Beach Bum. She’ll appear next in Netflix‘s thriller The Messiah.

Inon and Natalie Shampanier, whose previous credits include 2015’s Beautiful & Twisted and 2012’s The Millionaire Tour, are repped by Chris Sablan of Avenue 220 and attorney Jacob Shapira.

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