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  15 November 2013  

MGM and Danjaq announce acquisition of
Kevin McClory's James Bond rights

Los Angeles, CA (November 15, 2013) – Danjaq, LLC, the producer of the James Bond films, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), the longtime distributor of the Bond films, along with the estate and family of the late Kevin McClory, announced today that Danjaq and MGM have acquired all of the estate’s and family’s rights and interests relating to James Bond, thus bringing to an amicable conclusion the legal and business disputes that have arisen periodically for over 50 years.

Ian Fleming and wife Ann leave court during the 1961 THUNDERBALL court cae/Ernst Stavro Blofeld You Only Live Twice (1967)

ABOVE: (left)  James Bond author Ian Fleming and wife Ann leave court during the original THUNDERBALL court case in 1961. (Right) Donald Pleasence as Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice (1967) - a character Kevin McClory claimed he created along with the crime organisation SPECTRE. Does the new settlement between MGM, Danjaq and McClory's estate mean that Blofeld will now make a reappearance in the Daniel Craig series?

MGM, the long-time distributor of the Bond movies, and Danjaq, the franchise’s producer, have reached a settlement with the estate of Kevin McClory, who collaborated with 007 author Ian Fleming on the script for the first aborted movie version of 'Thunderball' in 1959.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the companies said it brought the copyright saga to an “amicable conclusion.”

The legal battle began when Ian Fleming turned the first James Bond script, which he wrote with McClory and British screenwriter Jack Whittingham, into the novel THUNDERBALL. McClory sued in 1961 over ownership rights. The parties settled, and McClory was able to produce Thunderball (in collaboration with established Bond producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli), which was eventually released in 1965 and was the franchise’s fourth 007 film. 

In 1983, a London court held that McClory had the right to produce James Bond movies, allowing the release of Never Say Never Again, which brought Sean Connery back as the dashing spy for the last time.

A California court delivered McClory a setback in 2001 by rejecting his claims to royalties from the 007 movies, arguing he had waited too long to make his case. 

McClory died in 2006 at the age of 80.  

BakerHostetler LLP partner William Kane, who represented McClory’s estate, said in a statement: “The 50-year intellectual property row involving James Bond was settled because of a great deal of hard work by the attorneys for the estate of Kevin McClory, MGM, and Danjaq - and will benefit James Bond film fans throughout the world.”    

See also: The Battle for Bond


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