Eon and Danjaq's financial structure discussed

Some insight into the above plus a finger pointing exercise in respect of tax credits.

Of course, what is legally correct might be at odds with what might be a moral conundrum? But, as we live in and celebrate a capitalist society, one follows the law. And if it doesn’t work in the best interests of the country, then the country’s government can Change said law…

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Some of their “facts” are just flat out wrong.

But in answer to their underlying point, the logic is the same as keeping the monarchy - what they do is very good for UK tourism.

Could you outline the facts you’re talking about, and correct them for the benefit of the forum?

The following year, Broccoli and Saltzman’s wives, Dana and Jacqueline, created a company called Danjaq – an elision of their names – incorporated in Switzerland.

…is the biggy. If it was held by their wives, Harry couldn’t have sold his half…because it wasn’t his to sell, and his actions would have opened up UA to a lawsuit. If that was even slightly true, which it’s not, Dana would’ve sued the hell out of Harry for selling assets in her company.

The other is this underlying assumption that you should be British to apply.

You don’t. It’s to encourage filming in the country so that the majority of your cast & crew are employed in the UK. It’s why Marvel, Star Wars and The Batman got those same tax breaks. They based their production in the UK so are providing employment as well as business.

Tiny detail - Eon will be paying for things when the films arn’t being made. Sam Mendes “consulting with an eye to direct”, Peter Morgan and Purvis & Wade wouldn’t have been working for free on Bond 23 whilst MGM was begging studios for money. Want to know what world The Guardian is in where nothing has any outgoing costs…London prices being so famously reasonable…


Fair play, many thanks.

The thing with the tax breaks…

Actually it dates back way before Eon even started. Fleming and his troupe of pioneer filmmaker hopefuls - Ivar Bryce, Ernest Cuneo, their sole relation to cinema being to sit and watch - primarily wanted to make a ton of cash from a flimsy outline scribbled on a cocktail napkin. They wanted to profit from an incentives scheme intended to support British film production on the Bahamas. Another substantial element was based on the hope to feature the US Navy and film on an aircraft carrier.

That’s why Thunderball ended up the way it did; effectively it started out as a tax avoidance scheme. Bryce, the millionaire of the three, was of course also interested in seeing his name attached to a big Hollywood production. But it was just as well that the production itself would firstly profit from subsidies - and had it bombed at least it would have payed for a few good trips and mixed grills and cut his taxes in the bargain. All of this perfectly above board.

Since those days the schemes have gotten more intricate but essentially are still based on the same principles: a production uses a certain part of local labour to qualify for a host of film subsidy programs. You can find them all over Europe in various guises, and of course in most other developed countries.

They actually complicate calculating a film’s real budget since they often affect the players‘ tax returns only the following year or even later. SPECTRE‘s budget for example is often given as $ 270m - but it actually cost way beyond $ 300m; some even claim close to 370m but that’s hard to verify with an Aston Martin one-of-a-kind prototype and reshoots. But we can comfortably establish SPECTRE was a bit more expensive than LICENCE TO KILL…

The culturally British detail was changed about a decade ago, moving from control over tax cuts to what the BFI can contribute funding to, allowing the British government to offer tax incentives to whoever they liked the sound of - hence Disney booking out all of Pinewood.

The wives paying cash thing I hadn’t heard before some kind of hero, but it doesn’t make any sense combined with Harry mid 70’s finance issue. He had to sell his stake for his debts - but that thing about the wives says that was to keep the assets out of contention for financial woes by either producer. The documentary on Dr No’s dvd said that Harry and Cubby made the company to hold the rights, and named it after their wives. I can see the naming thing leading to a Chinese whispers version of the story with Dana and Jacqueline.

Now, Dana did end up owning the rights to make Bond films with her husband and children from 1986 until her death, following her and Cubby buying the other half of the rights UA had to produce the films, MGM, unfortunately, retained the exclusive distribution albatross.