Warhead 2000

The other new Bond movie

Warhead 2000 Poster Warhead 2000 A.D.:
Mc Clory's plans

MGM Seeks to Halt Rival Bond Film

By Michael White
AP Business Writer
Tuesday, May 19, 1998; 7:17 p.m. EDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. on Tuesday stepped up its fight to keep exclusive rights to the lucrative James Bond movie franchise by asking a court to order rival Sony Corp. to halt development of its own Bond film.

The motion filed in U.S. District Court was MGM's latest move to prevent Sony from cashing in on Hollywood's most successful movie franchise. Since MGM launched the series in 1962 with ``Dr. No,'' its 18 Bond movies have earned more than $2.5 billion in box office receipts worldwide.

MGM sued Sony last November when Sony announced its intention to develop a Bond film. MGM is now asking for a preliminary injunction because it believes Sony actually has begun making the movie.

``We understand that Sony may be commencing their process a little faster than we thought,'' said MGM attorney David Johnson. ``We don't want them in the process of making movies while the suit is in litigation.''

Sony attorney Lou Meisinger declined to say whether work is under way on a Bond film. The question would be answered in the studio's response to the MGM motion, he said.

``The motion is remarkable only for its volume, not its merit,'' he said of the 35-page filing.

MGM itself is currently developing the 19th Bond installment. A script is being written for the film, which will star Pierce Brosnan, and a director will be named soon, said MGM spokesman Craig Parsons.

The dispute hinges on the rights controlled by Kevin McClory, a writer and producer who produced the Bond films ``Thunderball'' in 1965 and ``Never Say Never Again'' in 1983. McClory said he had a relationship with late Bond novelist Ian Fleming that predated MGM's deal.

MGM contends in its motion filed Tuesday that McClory's rights to Fleming's material and characters were restricted by the 1963 settlement of a breach-of-copyright lawsuit McClory filed against Fleming over ``Thunderball.''

In its lawsuit, MGM also accused John Calley, a former MGM executive who is now president of Sony Pictures, of taking MGM trade secrets when he left the company. The suit alleges that Sony is using the information in its development of its Bond film.

Renegade Producer Makes Rival Bond Film

By Erich Boehm

NAME: Kevin McClory
DESCRIPTION: Alternative James Bond 007 film producer.
LAST SEEN: Threatening to make a new alternate Bond pic.

LONDON (Variety) / Jan. 6, '97 -- Film producer, screenwriter and director Kevin McClory calls himself a seanchai -- a difficult to pronounce Irish word for storyteller. And there is one story, Thunderball, that has play ed a big part in McClory's life for nearly 4 decades.

McClory owns the rights to the 1965 James Bond pic. In 1983, he reworked the Thunderball premise into Never Say Never Again, with Sean Connery back as 007 when the other Bond was Roger Moore. Now there are plans for another alternate Bond feature, Warhead 2000 A.D., once again based on Thunderball but this time set to rain on Pierce Brosnan's parade.

McClory has yet to reveal a star or backer for the film, but he has a history of dogged determination. He says he is in negotiations with an actor he would like to have for Bond, and that several major studios have expressed interest in the project.

"I'm back in the Bond business because I have a couple of films I want to direct and Bond can provide the finance," McClory says. "I didn't want to make another Bond film, but now that I've come this far, I'm enjoying it immensely."

The Irishman, now in his late 60s (he says he is not sure of his exact age due to the unsettled circumstances of his childhood) has showbiz in his blood. Both parents were actors, of the traveling troupe variety.

McClory's first ambition was also acting. But after dyslexia drove him from school at an early age, he ended up in the Norwegian merchant navy. His ship was torpedoed by a U-boat in the war, and McClory spent a year in the hospital recovering from frostbi te and shock. It left him with a stammer that persists today.

In 1947, McClory joined the sound department at Shepperton Studios in England. He worked his way up from boom operator to assistant director on films such as John Huston's The African Queen. Huston became a lifelong friend.

In 1958, McClory co-wrote, directed and produced his own film, The Boy and the Bridge. The film attracted the attention of James Bond creator Ian Fleming.

"Fleming saw a rough cut and liked it," McClory says. "At the time he was frustrated that the Bond novels had not yet been made into films." The two agreed to collaborate on a Bond script. McClory was also to direct.

In 1959-60, McClory, Fleming and screenwriter Jack Wittingham cranked out the series of scripts that would become Thunderball. The storyline was not taken from one of the existing Bond novels.

According to McClory, working with Fleming was tough-going. "He was upper class and Eton-educated, and I was an uneducated Irishman, despite my film experience; we clashed a lot," he says.

Without financing, the project died. Fleming, however, using ideas from the scripts, went on to write the novel "Thunderball" in 1961, but did not credit McClory or Wittingham. McClory took Fleming to court, and in 1963 was awarded the rights to all the o riginal "Thunderball" treatments and scripts as well as the film rights to the novel. "I believe Fleming was dried up as a writer, so he took a chance," is McClory's perspective.

By then, producers Albert (Cubby) Broccoli and Harry Saltzman of Eon Prods. were already making Bond pics. A deal was struck: McClory would be executive producer for the film Thunderball and Eon the producer. The deal also required McClory to relinquish the right to pursue the Bond brand for 10 years.

For Never Say Never Again, McClory pursued Connery to the set of Huston's The Man Who Would Be King in Morocco, but the actor's initial response was, "Never again, never again." He finally enticed Connery by first inviting him to co-write th e script. Through the process of writing, McClory says, Connery regained interest in the character. McClory credits Connery with many of the film's one-liners.

According to McClory, there was an attempt by United Artists and Fleming's estate to block the film. He says he expects some "noise" again this time out, but that all potential players are aware that there are no legal problems whatsoever.

Kevin Aims to Make Big Boom in Battle of Bonds

From the Sunday Independent [Dublin, Ireland] (Oct. 27, '96)
By Trevor Danker
Stirred by definitely not shaken, the Great Gatsby of our times, Kevin McClory, is finally about to fulfill his cinematic dream of making his own James Bond film. This will be the 2nd time he has produced. What's more, he says he's raised the money, has a script ready, and is about to sign up 007 Mark 2 and wants to make part of the film here early next year. It comes after years of legal tussles since McClory acquired right to
Thunderball - his licence to pursue the Bond brand - in a court case in 1963.

All of which signals a forthcoming major multimillion dollar Battle of the Bonds between his company, Spectre Associates, and the other Bond-backers, United Artists and Eon Prods., who has produced 17 Bond movies. These include Pierce Brosnan debut in GoldenEye, which has grossed a massive $345 million since its premiere in 1995. "We are ready to go," the debonair McClory told me last week as he shuffled around the West of Ireland. "The film will be called Warhead 2000 AD and and actor has been chosen to play Bond. But we won't announce it yet to keep the competition in the dark."

"No, it's not Sean Connery. He's too old for the part now. But he has said he would play the villain in a James Bond film if the price was right." He didn't, however, dismiss Tim Dalton as a possible Bond. He played the character in Licence to Kill and The Living Daylights.

"I haven't spoken to Pierce Brosnan for some time, so I don't know if he is aware of the new Bond. I am anxious to make part of the film in Ireland. The rest of it will be shot in the US, Australia, and the Caribbean. Raising money for a Bond film is never really a problem. A lot of people wondered where I disappeared to for the last couple of years. I was in Amsterdam writing the script."

McClory's fight to make his Bond movie goes back to the early 1960s when he and fellow writer Jack Whittingham, now dead, successfully took Bond creator Ian Fleming to court over the storyline of the novel Thunderball, which, they argued, was based on the film script, Thunderball, the three had completed in 1960. In 1983, McClory reworked the picture's story into Never Say Never Again. Fleming's estate later tried unsuccessfully to block the release of the film, which marked Sean Connery's return to his most famous screen role.

Rival James Bond Movie Planned

By Erich Boehm

LONDON (Variety) / October 9, '96 --
Two rival James Bond movies are in the works following last year's successful resurrection of the secret agent franchise with

Pierce Brosnan is getting ready to reprise his role as 007 for a project tentatively titled "Bond 18" which will be directed by Roger Spottiswoode.

However, as the film's producers scout locations, another filmmaker is close to announcing details of his Bond project called Warhead 2000 A.D.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Variety from Ireland, producer Kevin McClory revealed plans for the film but was reluctant to give details, in order to keep "the competition" in the dark. McClory said he will announce more substantial information on funding and casting in 2 or 3 weeks.

No actor has yet been signed, but McClory says that a lead has been chosen and while the ink is not on paper, it's close to it. Similarly, financing is "as good as" in place.

McClory produced the 1965 Bond movie Thunderball and re-worked the story -- with himself as executive producer -- into 1983's Never Say Never Again. The estate of Bond creator Ian Fleming tried to block the latter picture, which marked Sean Connery's return to the role after a 12-year absence.

In an echo of Connery's return to the role, one possible Bond for McClory is Timothy Dalton, who played the character in 1987's The Living Daylights and 1989's Licence to Kill. McClory does not rule out Dalton as a possibility, saying he considers him an extremely fine actor.

McClory says his reasons for initiating an alternative Bond are twofold: "We have a damn good story, a Bond with a credible story and a potent, ruthless enemy, and it will enable me to fund the other films I want to make."

McClory acquired rights to Thunderball in a court case in 1963. He and fellow writer Jack Wittingham (now deceased) successfully took Fleming to court over the storyline of the novel Thunderball, which they argued was based on a film script the 3 had completed in 1961.

The producers of "Bond 18", working with the estate's backing, declined comment on McClory's plans. Their film is due to roll in February. Design and set construction are scheduled to start at the end of this month.

Warhead 2000 A.D.

Genre: Action/Adventure.

Studio: Unknown.
Production Company: Unknown.

Project Phase: Development Hell.

Who's In It: Unknown.
Who's Making It: Kevin McClory (Producer).

Premise: Unknown.

Release Date: Unknown.

Comments: With the recent success of Pierce Brosnan as the new 007, the Bond franchise has been revived. As pre-production work continues on Brosnan's next film outing, former Bond producer Kevin McClory wants to develop and release another James Bond film - but with a different actor portraying 007.

Rumors: Unknown.

Scoop Feedback:

October 9, 1996... Kevin McClory, the producer of Thunderball and Never Say Never Again wants to make another Bond picture titled "Warhead 2000 A.D." As with NSNA, this film would fall outside the auspices of the Broccoli/EON productions (true Bond fans consider NSNA non-canon material.) McClory says he's close to signing his Bond: and, Reuters speculates, it could be none other than Timothy Dalton! [Scoop provided by 'mkingsl'.]

October 9, 1996... In a Daily Variety feature, McClory said that a lead has been picked but not signed yet. Details on the nature of the plot are being kept secret to keep "the competition" in the dark. McClory also stated that his Bond team had an excellent story and a "ruthless" enemy. Further information should become avaliable in two to three weeks.

How exactly can there be two James Bond franchises? Good question. It seems that McClory and Jack Wittingham took Ian Fleming to court back in 1963 over the story content in Fleming's Thunderball novel, which the former pair argued was based upon material the three had collborated on. McClory and Wittingham won the case.

This allowed McClory to do a re-make of the Thunderball material in 1983 with Never Say Never Again. But does McClory have the right to make a completely new storyline with Fleming's character? The producers of the Brosnan franchise declined to comment about the McClory news; time will tell if court papers will be served. [Scoop filed by 'imho'; orignally appeared in Daily Variety.]

October 10, 1996... "The rights to Bond belong to United Artists via the late Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, but there is a loophole big enough to drive an Aston-Martin through," says producer Kevin McClory when asked as to how he plans to start up a second Bond franchise of films. The New York Post reports that McClory, when he developed the original storyline for Thunderball (called "Latitude 78 West" at the time), a clause was hidden in the contracts which stated that McClory could remake Thunderball within a ten-year time. Thunderball was released in 1965, and McClory had to start development of the film by 1975 - which he did. Eventually McClory aquired the backing from Warner Brothers, and the result was 1983's Never Say Never Again.

Does McClory have another 'ace', a hidden clause or loophole associated with the Bond character? It certainly seems that way. [Scoop reported by 'rpouria'.]

October 22, 1996... A better understanding of what McClory may be up to starts to emerge, with the James Bond aficionados with the widest knowledge base. Apparently this is not the first time Kevin McClory has announced production on a 'renegade' Bond film. He's done it three or four times before, but the only project to see the light of day was Never Say Never Again. Other project announcements for alternate Bond films have come both before and after NSNA but these never came about. In the words of this scoop reporter, "With [McClory's] track record, his announcement for 'Warhead 2000 A.D.' should be taken with a grain of salt. Incidentally, it is generally accepted on alt.fan.james-bond that 'Warhead 2000 A.D.' is supposed to be a *second* remake of Thunderball." [Scoop filed by 'ss1'.]

October 28, 1996... Numerous letter writers report that none other than Sean Connery may be the 'new' Bond for the picture. [Scoops submitted by 'Gazza', 'SDL' and anonymously.] October 29, 1996... Tying into the above scoop, additional information concerning the possible storyline for Warhead 2000 surfaces. Sean Connery was rumored to have helped develop another similar storyline from the Thunderball premise back when he was attached to the renegade 80s Bond project; instead, Never Say Never Again was made as a result of arising legal problems with the concept. The original concept for the NSNA project involved a group of robotic 'sharks' armed with torpedos and directed at public structures, such as the Statue of Liberty. The sharks were controlled by one of those nefarious pure-evil, billionaire bad-boy corporations or a SMERSH-like counterpart. The scooper doesn't mention the rumors surrounding Connery being attached to the McClory project - but the announced name of the project seems to indicate a possible link... [Scoop provided by Brent Lynch, 00-in-training.]

Bosses of the latest JAMES BOND caper AQUATICA are refusing to be shaken by news of a rival on the horizon. Last week producer KEVIN McCLORY announced he will be signing up past 007s SEAN CONNERY, TIMOTHY DALTON and GEORGE LAZENBY for a Bond adventure called WARHEAD 2000AD. But that has not even caused a raised eyebrow in the headquarters of EON PRODUCTIONS - masterminds behind Aquatica, which stars PIERCE BROSNAN as James Bond. Spokeswoman AMANDA SCHOFIELD says, "Of course it's not a threat. McClory says he's signed up all those stars but it's not certain yet. We won't be speeding up production

Bonds--James Bonds
After putting a colorful cadre of criminals behind bars, filmdom's favorite secret agent may soon be facing his toughest opponent yet--himself. Variety reports that there are currently two rival James Bond movies in the works. Pierce Brosnan, who helped revive the 007 franchise with last year's Goldeneye, is set to star in the tentatively titled Bond 18, which begins production in February under the direction of Roger Spot tiswoode. Meanwhile, producer Kevin McClory, who masterminded Sean Connery's return to Bondage in 1983's Never Say Never Again, is finalizing plans for a competing project called Warhead 2000 A.D. McClory produced the 1965 Bond flick, Thunderball, and, against the wishes of author Ian Fleming's estate, remade the film as Never Say Never Again. There's no word yet on who'll star in Warhead 2000 A.D., but the possibility exists that Tim othy Dalton will reprise the role he played in two previous Bond movies (The Living Daylights, 1987, and Licence To Kill, 1989). McClory explained his reasons for inciting the battle of the Bonds: "We have a damn good story, a Bond with a cr edible story and a potent, ruthless enemy, and it will enable me to fund the other films I want to make."

LONDRES _ Sean Connery tiene posibilidades de protagonizar muy pronto, a pesar de sus 66 años, un espectacular regreso a la pantalla grande encarnando a James Bond, el mítico agente secreto que le dio fama y riqueza, reveló el Daily Mail.

Un productor norteamericano, Kevin McClory, se puso en contacto con el veterano actor escocés y le ofreció el papel del legendario agente 007 en un nuevo filme.

Hasta ahora las 17 películas sobre las aventuras de Bond fueron realizadas por el productor Albert Broccoli, muerto en junio, pero McClory logró recientemente el asentimiento de la justicia para romper el monopolio.

El actual James Bond (el actor Pierce Brosnan) empezará a rodar una nueva película de la serie oficial (producida por la hija de Broccoli, Barbara), a principios de 1997.

McClory asegura tener ya lista la financiación, el guión y el título Warhead 2000 AD para la película alternativa.

El siempre fascinante Sean Connery quien encarnó por última vez a James Bond en 1983, en Nunca digas nunca jamás desmintió hace algunos meses insistentes afirmaciones de la prensa, según las cuales, iba a regresar a la zaga del agente con licencia para matar interpretando al super malo de turno.

A partir de 1962, con Dr. No, Connery se metió en la piel del personaje inventado por el novelista Ian Fleming en siete ocasiones, y aún hoy es considerado casi unánimemente por el público y la crítica como el mejor James Bond de la historia.

Pierce Brosnan håller på att få konkurrens i rollen som James Bond. Brosnan gjorde debut som agenten med rätt att döda förra året i filmen "Goldeneye" och startar snart arbetet med nästa Bond-film, &au ml;n så länge kallad "Bond 18".

Den amerikanska tidningen Variety uppger att producenten Kevin McClory - som producerat de gamla Bondfilmerna "Thunderball" och "Never Say Never Again" - har ett eget Bondprojekt på gång kallat "Warhead 2000 A.D".

McClory är än så länge mycket förtegen men säger att han förhandlar med en skådespelare för huvudrollen. En möjlig kandidat är Timothy Dalton, som spelat superagenten i två tidigare filmer.

James Bond har fått en rival - seg selv. Det er nemlig to nye James Bond-filmer på vei. Den ene, med Pierce Brosnan som den britiske agenten, begynner man å filme i februar neste år med Roger Spottiswoode som regissør; den har foreløpig ikke fått noen tittel, men er kjent som James Bond 18. Den andre Bond-filmen skal produseres av Kevin McClory, mannen som sto bak Sean Connerys comeback som superagenten i Never Say Never Again. Planen er at filmen skal hete Warhead 2000 AD, men ingen vet hvem som skal spille Bond ennå. Muligheten er tilstede for at Timothy Dalton, mannen som var Bond i The Living Daylights og Licence To Kill, skal spille superagenten.

Sony Spies Chance To Battle For Bond (Oct. 14, '97)

Duelling Bonds (Oct. 14, '97)

I'm Bond - James Bond; No, you're nuts - really nuts (Oct. 14, '97)

MGM and Columbia set to duel over competing James Bond movies (Oct. 13, '97)

Cybersleaze report (Oct. 13, '97)

Columbia Pictures to Produce New James Bond Series (Oct. 1 3, '97)

Tuesday October 14 8:17 AM EDT

Sony Spies Chance To Battle For Bond

By Rex Weiner

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - It's spy vs. spy at the box office as Sony Pictures prepares to launch a James Bond movie in competition with MGM, which holds the 007 franchise.

Sony announced Monday that its Columbia Pictures studio will activate a James Bond motion picture franchise, based on story rights owned by producer Kevin McClory.

McClory produced the 1965 Bond picture "Thunderball," based on a story by him, Jack Whittingham and Bond creator Ian Fleming; McClory also produced a 1983 remake of the film, "Never Say Never Again," for Warner Bros.

Calling the studio's move "delusional," MGM chairman Frank Mancuso, has hired high-powered lega l gun Pierce O'Donnell to challenge Sony's right to Bond.

Sony Pictures is headed by John Calley, who resurrected the 007 franchise with 1995's "Goldeneye" when he was president at MGM's United Artists. He joined Sony last year.

"There have been a n umber of great Bonds over the years," Calley told Daily Variety, denying that his move represents a personal challenge to his alma mater. "We are satisfied that McClory has the right to make James Bond."

He said there is no script as yet, no star or di rector attached, but he has set 1999 as the release year for Sony's first Bond picture.

Mancuso, Calley's former boss, was less than thrilled.

"Any claim that (McClory) can create a James Bond franchise is delusional," Mancuso declared in a terse st atement. "We hope that Sony has not been duped by Mr. McClory's deception. Today, more than ever, we will vigorously pursue all means to protect this valued franchise that United Artists and the Broccoli family have nurtured for more than three decades."

Calley's move could not have come at a more sensitive time for MGM. The company, owned by Australia's Seven Network and Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp., is preparing to launch a $250 million public offering that is timed to coincide with the Dec. 18 re lease of the 18th Bond picture, "Tomorrow Never Dies."

As a lure for investors, the studio is highlighting Bond as MGM's flagship asset; "Goldeneye," starring Pierce Brosnan, grossed more than $350 million worldwide.

Sony teamed up with Sony a year ago after studio executives read an interview with the 71-year-old producer in Daily Variety.

In that interview, McClory said he was planning a Bond picture called "Warhead 2000 AD," exercising rights to Bond gained from an early collaboration with Fle ming and Whittingham that resulted in Thunderball, the fourth Bond picture filmed in association with Albert "Cubby" Broccoli.

McClory's rights were exercised once again with "Never Say Never Again," starring Sean Connery and produced at Warner Bros., where Calley presided as head of production.

McClory would not comment on how much the deal was worth or how many pictures would be made. While "Warhead 2000 AD" is unlikely to be the title of the new picture, he denied that any new picture would be es sentially a remake of Thunderball.


Tuesday, October 14, 1997 8:38 AM
Dueling James Bonds at the Box Office?

There's a battle of the Bonds heating up in Hollywood. Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Monday that it had signed a long-term agreement to produce a new series of films featuring suave British secret agent James Bond with producer Kevin McClory, who produced two Bond flicks, 1965's Thunderball and 1983's Never Say Never Again. There's just one problem: M-G-M/UA, the studio that has released most of the other Bond films, says that it owns the rights to the franchise and the character created by novelist Ian Fleming. M-G-M has threatened legal action against Sony to stop a potential box office face-off of dueling Bond pictures.

Sony said its new Bond movie would be based on original works created by McClory, late author Fleming, and screenwriter Jack Whittingham. The three men collaborated on a screenplay in 1959 that Fleming eventually formed into the novel Thunderball. "Although they [M-G-M] are trying to depict us as interlopers, we were in fact innovators," McClory said in an interview with the Associated Press. "M-G-M's rights came after our rights. There is no doubt about this: We created our wor k with Fleming."

M-G-M has made eighteen Bond films, most recently Goldeneye, with Pierce Brosnan in the lead--the fifth actor, after Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, and George Lazenby to assume the role. That film, released two years ago, g rossed $350 million worldwide. The next Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, is set for release on December 18. M-G-M says that its films, which were made with producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli and his heirs, have grossed more than $3 billion worldwide.

"Kev in McClory's claims of ownership of rights to James Bond have been disputed for over ten years," Frank Mancuso, chairman of M-G-M Inc., said in a statement. "Any claim that he can create a James Bond franchise is delusional." He added, "We hope that Sony has not been duped by Mr. McClory's deception. Today, more than ever, we will vigorously pursue all means to protect this valued franchise that United Artists and the Broccoli family have nurtured for more than three decades."

In a statement, Sony Pict ures President John Calley, who most recently headed up United Artists, said, "The new James Bond films emphasize our commitment to create motion picture franchises that serve as tentpoles for our release schedule and create business opportunities through out the Sony family." Uh-huh. The first Bond pic from Sony is due to hit theaters in 1999, but no casting decisions have been made. Stay tuned to see which Bond triumphs.

MGM and Columbia set to duel over competing James Bond movies

Copyri ght © 1997 Nando.net
Copyright © 1997 The Associated Press

CULVER CITY, Calif. (October 13, 1997 9:28 p.m. EDT http://www.nando.net) -- MGM is not about to take Columbia Pictures' plans to make competing James Bond movies lying down.

Columbia, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, announced Monday it is making a series of new Bond movies -- stunning news to MGM, which believes it owns exclusive movie rights to the globetrotting English secret agent.

The Columbia films will be based on wr itings by the late Bond novelist Ian Fleming, writer-director Kevin McClory and producer Jack Whittingham, the studio said. Columbia said it plans to release its first Bond film in 1999. Casting and story details were not announced. McClory produced the B ond films "Thunderball" in 1965 and "Never Say Never Again" in 1983.

MGM said Columbia is "delusional" if it believes it can make any Bond movies. MGM's United Artists division has made 18 Bond films, the longest-running film franchise in Hollywood hist ory. The MGM films, made with producer Albert Cubby Broccoli and his heirs, have worldwide theatrical grosses exceeding $3 billion, and none have lost money. There have been five actors in the name role, the most recent being Pierce Brosnan.

Columbia Pi ctures say it is convinced it has a legal right to produce the Bond movies. "We've done due diligence and there's no doubt Kevin McClory has the rights to make a series of James Bond films and he has licensed those rights to Sony Pictures," said Peter Wil kes, a Sony Pictures spokesman.

MGM found the explanation ludicrous. It will release the 18th Bond movie, "Tomorrow Never Dies," on Dec. 19.

"Kevin McClory's claims of ownership of rights to James Bond have been disputed for over 10 years. Any claim t hat he can create a James Bond franchise is delusional," Frank Mancuso, MGM's chairman, said in a statement.

"We hope that Sony has not been duped by Mr. McClory's deception. Today, more than ever, we will vigorously pursue all means to protect this val ued franchise that United Artists and the Broccoli family have nurtured for more than three decades," Mancuso said.

McClory said he, Whittingham and Fleming collaborated on several movie ideas in 1959. "Although they try to depict us as interlopers, we were in fact innovators," McClory said in an interview. He said Fleming's "Thunderball" was based on a movie idea he helped develop with the novelist.

"MGM's rights came after our rights," McClory said. "There is no doubt about this: We created our work with Fleming."

McClory's deal with Columbia was negotiated under the guidance of Sony Pictures President John Calley, who most recently ran United Artists.

"The new James Bond films emphasize our commitment to create motion picture franchises that se rve as tentpoles for our release schedule and create business opportunities throughout the Sony family," Calley said in a statement.

--By JOHN HORN, AP Entertainment Writer

Columbia Pictures to Produce New James Bond Series

CULV ER CITY, Calif., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Columbia Pictures, a Sony
Pictures Entertainment Company (SPE), today announced a new association with
producer/director Kevin McClory and his company Spectre Associates Inc. to
make a series of new James Bond feature films. These movies will be based on
original works created by McClory, James Bond novelist Ian Fleming and Jack
A protege of legendary filmmaker John Huston, Irishman McClory worked for
was Michael Todd's assistant and was a director on Todd's AROUND THE WORLD IN
80 DAYS, which garnered six Academy Awards including Best Picture for 1956.
The first new Bond film, to be prod uced by McClory, is expected to be
released in 1999. McClory produced the James Bond films THUNDERBALL in 1965
and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN in 1983 and was co-author of the original story on
which these films were based.
"I had several choic es of studios with whom to work," says McClory, "but
Sony Pictures and Columbia stood head and shoulders above the other studios in
experience, unique production facilities, digital special effects and global
distribution abilities. Plus, this i s a great opportunity to join old friends
John Calley, Gareth Wigan (co-vice chair, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture
Group) and Amy Pascal (president, Columbia Pictures) in propelling James Bond
into the 21st century."
Sony Pictures Enterta inment President and Chief Operating Officer John
Calley said, "The new James Bond films emphasize our commitment to create
motion picture franchises that serve as tentpoles for our release schedule and
create business opportunities throughout th e Sony family. We are especially
grateful to Gareth Wigan for his perseverance in creating this opportunity."
Over the past few years, SPE has developed such emerging franchise films
as BAD BOYS, JUMANJI and MEN IN BLACK and is building on t hat momentum with
upcoming features such as STARSHIP TROOPERS, MASK OF ZORRO, GODZILLA and
Gareth Wigan said, "We have known Kevin for some time and are pleased to
join with him in giving James Bond a new home at Sony Pic tures."
Sony Pictures' global operations encompass motion picture production and
distribution, television programming and syndication, home video acquisition
and distribution, operation of studio facilities, development of new
entertainmen t products, services and technologies and distribution of filmed
entertainment in 67 countries. Sony Pictures Entertainment can be found on
the World Wide Web at http://www.spe.sony.com

SOURCE Columbia Pictures

CONTACT: Peter D. Wilkes, 310-244-8982

THE TALE OF THE COMPETING BONDS: In the meantime, today's NEW YORK POST reports that Sony PICTURES has announced it will, "release a series of new James Bond features, with an as-yet unannounced star playing the role of 007." Appa rently Sony claims that writer/producer KEVIN McCLORY, who produced the Bond film THUNDERBALL in 1965 and the NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN film in 1983 (with SEAN CONNERY reprising his original role), has every right to make a new series of original films based on the character created by the novelist IAN FLEMING. Meanwhile, as you can imagine, UNITED ARTISTS, the company that releases the current series of Bond pictures starring PEIRCE BROSNAN, is completely apoplectic about the possibility of a competing franc hise and has labeled Sony's plan as "delusional," which leads us to believe that they are not at all happy about it. In fact, UA chairman FRANK MANCUSO released a statement saying, "We hope that Sony has not been duped… Today, more than ever, we will vigo rously pursue all means to prfsotect this valuable franchise." So, it looks like both side's lawyers will probably have an absolute field day with this one and become very rich. Now, of course, the immediate buzz was - Who would be the other BOND? And let me just say that my money would be on ENGLISH PATIENT star RALPH FIENNES who apparently has been absolutely pining to play the part of Bond ever since he was a kid. Now, I would definitely pay to see that. Perhaps two competing Bonds would be good for th e franchise.

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