DIARY - Tales from Tinseltown - MGM lion will only keep roaring if James Bond is pulling its tail

The latest James Bond thriller, The World Is Not Enough, is giving MGM a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

The latest James Bond thriller, The World Is Not Enough, is giving MGM a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.

The latest James Bond thriller, The World Is Not Enough, is giving

MGM a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.



The Bond franchise is the studio’s best asset, amounting to nearly

dollars 3 billion in grosses since the first was released in 1962. Also,

World won its opening weekend at the box office with an awe-inspiring

dollars 35.5 million - the largest in Bond history.



While this bodes well for the studio’s fourth-quarter bottom line and

the future of the Bond franchise, MGM is relying on this 19th

installment to bring about a turnaround in the studio’s own fortunes.

This means maintaining the Bond brand and linking the film’s global

appeal to the once roaring MGM lion. As such, each Bond installment is

viewed as a branding opportunity in search of a movie.



Shaking and stirring the franchise, the studio released Bond under the

MGM label for the first time. Bond had always gone under the United

Artists banner, but after recasting UA as an art-house division earlier

this year, MGM chairman Alex Yemenidjian and vice-chairman Chris McGurk

brought the series over to MGM.



’We were left with a great brand that has not been utilized properly,’

said McGurk in a recent interview.



Asked whether World’s high profile makes it more stressful than other

releases, MGM publicity chief Amanda Marashinsky said, ’Bond is

Bond.



We have to fight off people who want to cover it.’



During Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies, the two previous movies in

which Pierce Brosnan filled Bond’s tuxedo, the star had been featured on

the cover of numerous major national magazines. But with the

increasingly small distance between films - only two years - it has

become harder to get his face on those covers.



Bond girls, however, are another matter. ’They can always get covers,’

Marashinsky said. This meant several magazines (including Detour,

Cosmopolitan and an Elle sub-publication) featuring Denise Richards, the

actress who portrays Dr. Christmas Jones.



Steve Wegner, a PR maven for MGM’s home-video arm, orchestrated a recent

Vanity Fair photo spread that featured Bond women throughout the film’s

37-year history - a coup that will surely aid MGM as it launches

repackaged sets of the Bond films on video and DVD.



MGM has also attempted to reach younger fans for Bond by signing

alternative rockers Garbage to perform World’s title song. This paved

the way for a global promotional campaign with MTV, which subsequently

hyped the film through multiple airings of the music video and

committing 100 hours of programming to the movie.



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