Daniel Craig is expected to return to play James Bond. For who though? No one knows. Image: Sony

Five Hollywood studios are currently battling over which one will make the next James Bond film.

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The New York Times reports that MGM and Eon, the companies that control the film rights, are currently taking pitches from several major studios for a one-film contract to distribute the 25th film in the Bond franchise.

According to the piece, Sony, which had a deal for the previous four films, pitched the rights holders touting its great successes with those films and deep ties to the franchise. The studio reps even held the meeting on a replica set from Dr. No, to show their passion. Also vying for the rights are Warner Bros., Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Annapurna, all of which will be doing similar pitches. (Just probably not on replica Dr. No sets.)

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The Times reports that casting, or recasting, is not being discussed in the meetings, as it remains the producers’ hope that Daniel Craig will return for one more movie.

So what does this all mean to the general moviegoer? Not much. Whichever studio MGM and Eon end up choosing will still produce a high-end Bond film that’ll be seen on millions of screens. This is more a battle for the inside track at a globally proven franchise, something studios are desperate for these days. The news also means anything you’ve heard or read about Bond 25 being cast, written, or location-scouted is all bullshit. No one is doing anything until these rights are in order. And with the deal being only for one movie, there’s no guarantee this whole thing won’t happen again in three or four years after this next movie comes out.

[New York Times]