While distribution rights for the James Bond series have been locked in at Sony for the last several movies, the release of this month's Spectre could signal a big change for 007. The studio's deal with Bond producers EON Productions and MGM expires as soon as the latest Bond film hits US theaters, which could spell the end of Sony's claim on the spy franchise.
According to Deadline, producers are exploring other homes for Bond at Warner Bros., Universal and Paramount. “They might not say they’re actively shopping it," says one of their sources, "but they are certainly making it known their deal is up and they will be.” The site goes on to suggest that should Spectre rake in an "ungodly global gross", MGM and EON will likely use those figures to "strengthen their leverage" and land an even better deal at a new studio.
As one of the longest-running film franchises, debuting in 1962 and still going strong, the Bond series scored its biggest hit with 2012's Skyfall that netted upwards of $1 billion worldwide. It's believed that this factor alone is what encouraged Warner Bros., keen for a big win, to enter the race. That's even more interesting to note considering how little Bond has made for Sony; the studio collected $57 million of Skyfall's hefty haul.
Before then, you can catch Sony's latest -- and potentially last -- Bond movie in UK theaters now. Spectre opens in the US on November 6.