It was in 1962 that United Artists, founded on this day in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, backed Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli’s Dr. No in 1963 for $1 million and thus launched the James Bond franchise.
Through the decades of Bond history, United Artists released a total of 19 James Bond films up to The World is Not Enough in 1999 and also shared the copyrights with MGM and DANJAQ LLC. Following a repositioning of UA during the 2000’s, the Bond franchise fell back to MGM.
Following the release of Spectre in 2015, the distribution deal with Sony Pictures Releasing officially ended. With distribution rights to theatrically release the upcoming Bond 25 up for negotiation, Universal Pictures was chosen to internationally release the film with Eon Productions and MGM and also hold the home video rights. MGM retains the theatrical, digital, and television rights in the United States and will co-release the film domestically with Annapurna Pictures.
As entertainment magazine Variety reports today, MGM and Annapurna Pictures have now revived the famous brand as a joint film distribution venture called United Artists Releasing. For the first time since 1999, the UA title screen will be back at the beginning of a James Bond film.
“I could not be more excited to have the opportunity to expand this releasing venture under the iconic banner that is United Artists. Annapurna was founded with a very similar intent … to provide a home for artists and their creations in hopes of moving our culture forward,” Annapurna CEO Megan Ellison said.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Bond franchise home to United Artists,” added MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman. “The United Artists brand is a natural fit, as our joint venture was founded around the same principle as its namesake: to help filmmakers maintain financial and artistic control.”