Could Streaming Be Bond's New Home?

This is not about NTTD’s release as that’s being discussed in detail elsewhere. This is speculation about the future of the series, Bond 26 and beyond. The question is: should Bond become a straight to streaming franchise?

It’s a question I’ve seen floated before but given how things are playing out right now it feels inevitable. The film landscape is changing. The producers have never been afraid to mix things up to move with the times but I’ll admit this would be the most radical change undertaken with the series. However it’s a change that I feel would make a lot of sense. Streaming has getting bigger and bigger with the current crisis speeding things up. I have no idea what the future holds but right now releasing movies seems to be the hardest part

Streaming could certainly handle a blockbuster scale production. Netflix put up $150 for ‘6 Underground’, an action film with multiple international filming locations, and it was one of their most watched titles. It’s would be a bit of a budget cut compared to NTTD but some of the best Bond films have resulted from going smaller than their predecessor.

Bond also seems to have to fight for relevance on the big screen and constantly seems to be overshadowed by the other big franchises. Combine that with the fact that most people are introduced to Bond on the small screen and I think streaming could be 007’s future. Streaming doesn’t have to be a step down, it’s more of a new frontier in entertainment, one that’s just coming into its own.


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It’s possible this may just be the industry as a whole in a few short years.

I haven’t seen 6 UNDERGROUND but I suspect there’s an m missing here.

As for your premise, I think this is definitely something we’d have to think about anyway, regardless of the pandemic situation.

We all of course hope and want this to be a passing thing, something we go through and when it’s over things will go back to the state of before. Why this is just a hope and by no means a given is not so much at the centre of this discussion. This novel coronavirus is only putting into sharp relief the problems of a film industry that was becoming increasingly self-referential and cannibalistic even.

Ever growing production costs of several hundred million dollars, sums that amount to the budgets of small states, all invested into a couple of hours of fluff and CGI. And if productions don’t make their budget in a weekend they are considered already disappointing performers - how much longer could that system seriously feed on its own leftovers? How many screens can show the same iterations of the selfsame two dimensional comic book fare, while all the talent and creativity goes into remaking the remakes of last Christmas? There was bound to come a crunch and COVID-19 is only the developer showing up at the site of the crumbling structure.

All well and fine…but Bond on the telly? BOND?

This is how my generation - Barbara Broccoli, Craig, Nolan, many others on the fifth floor of studios and entertainment entities - still think of it, the ‘telly’. A small scale version of the real thing, a bit cheap and papier-mâché. We need to understand that these people saw off the attack of home entertainment in the 80s, also plans by various executives to ramp up the odd Bond tv series.

All that time the battle cry had been ‘only cinema is the real magic’ - put the money on the screen, which was seldom the case in television. Then we can understand why Bond isn’t already one step further; some of that thinking is still there, deeply ingrained in the generation of 50somethings that is at the helm
of the classic entertainment industry.

But this school of thought is already seeing how reality refuses to support its dogma less and less each year. Streaming opened new options of storytelling, attracted talents and creativity like classic studios used to. Production values are increasing while at the same time more diverse and niche productions find their audience. What’s not to like? Of course, streamers don’t sell popcorn and nachos.

Will Bond make this step? BOND?

I’d say there is a very real possibility there may come a time when it’s no longer an option but the only one left.


I’ll probably surprise a few people with this but, as the franchise is currently constructed, Bond should remain on the big screen. It’s the kind of action spectacle, the kind of event-cinema that demands to be seen in a cinema. It needs to be made with the larger format in mind.

Now, if they were to change what Bond is going forward, making it something more akin to Dr. No and From Russia With Love than the entries that followed, then I think the case could be made for bringing Bond to a streaming service. Lower budgets, more daring storytelling, etc. I’d be all in for that, but it would take some major courage on the parts of the rights holders to even consider this kind of thing.


I suspect that cinemas, while closing now for the right reasons, will open up again in the future. And BOND 26 will not be financed before that.

Should we arrive at a situation in which the opening of cinemas will still be a major risk and not reward any blockbuster release, streaming would be the only choice for any studio to survive, and Bond would necessarily be part of that.

The question is, however, whether it is helpful for Bond films to stay on that course which leads to increasing budgets which can only be recouped through worldwide record attendance.

Does a Bond film really need those increasing huge budgets to be a great and beloved Bond film?

I don´t think so at all. The cycle of any Bond actor´s tenure poses the same problem: the next one has to be bigger and bigger and bigger until the excess is overburdening the enterprise and the follow-up has to be scaled down.


Was YOLT better than FRWL? Wouldn’t the franchise have fared better to stay on the level of FRWL?

This is the biggest chance for Bond films to become really consistently great films again. Go back to basics and stay there. Sure, one or two big stunt scenes would still be wonderful. But why overpack everything, turn everything up to eleven, just to suggest that you’re an even bigger carnival this time?

Embrace the streaming. Turn up regularly there, with compelling stories. Sure, if cinemas open again, be available there, too. But don’t fight for the short release date window left by the other franchises which will never go on for as long as you.

And really, with the “EVENT”-label taken up to justify turning up maybe only every five years, you will not stay as relevant anymore in the cinema as if you were a much more regular fixture on a streaming platform.


The funny thing is that there is a bit of a stigma attached to streaming films, Netflix in particular, it’s just not the same as TV or direct to DVD productions. These films are frequently accused of being disposable, something to have on in the background or just before bed without really paying attention. it’s why someone like Adam Sandler has had a string of Netflix successes. But as time goes on they are at least tempting some serious talent, if it’s good enough for Scorsese then surely it’s good enough for Bond?

My biggest fear of a streaming-Bond would be that they would settle into the comfortable and familiar, attempt to recreate the ‘there’s a Bond film on TV that I haven’t seen’ feeling of yesteryear. I would certainly hope that they would embrace the new format and try new things. As you see with lower budget project the script and the acting really have to shine.

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And also responded to the proliferation of screens (and other changes) in people’s lives (much as television did in the 1950’s). You can start watching something at work, transfer it to your phone as you travel home, and then pick it up on whatever domicile screens you possess.

1930: 65% of Americans went to a movie every week
1946: 57% of Americans went to a movie every week
2019: 14% of Americans wenr to a movie every month, and 10% went every week

Agreed, but the percentage of people who feel that the spectacle is less impressive when viewed at home is dwindling (abetted by 1) the increase in the number of filmmakers who were raised on exclusive home-viewing, and whose visual aesthetic reflects this fact; and 2) the homogeneity of much cinematic spectacle–possibly caused by an over-reliance on computer-generated effects which promise limitlessness, but most often deliver similarity.

Non-digital cinema spectacle:



Honestly, if I were given the choice, I would rather view the films at home myself. That’s what I’ve been doing the last several years anyway, except for the odd cinema outing every other year or so (mainly Bond), but I would still like to see the films, if they are to continue being made in the way that they are, made with the big screen in mind. The sizes of the screens in the home are getting larger and larger on average, as TV prices go down, so the loss in experience is becoming less and less.


That’s an interesting point. In the early days of cinema all of the directors had primarily worked in theatre before making films. It wasn’t until the 70’s that we got the ‘Movie Brats’ (Spielberg, Coppola, Lucas, DePalma etc.) the first generation of filmmakers who had been raised on cinema. Their influence led to a huge paradigm shift in the industry. Now the first generation who grew up with home media are the ones making the movies.