Universal Wins James Bond International Distribution

Spectre Still 3 Daniel Craig - H 2015
<p>Daniel Craig in <em>Spectre</em>.</p>   |   'Spectre,' Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures
MGM will distribute the film domestically through its joint partnership with Annapurna and has set a Nov. 8, 2019, release date for its U.S. opening.

After a battle amongst major film studios, Universal has won the international distribution rights to the 25th installment of the James Bond franchise and has also secured rights for physical home entertainment. 

Domestic distribution for the film, currently titled simply Bond 25, will be handled by MGM through its joint venture with Annapurna that was signed last year.

Eon Productions and MGM announced the new partnership with Universal on Thursday evening. Under the deal, MGM will also retain digital and worldwide television rights.

The 25th Bond movie will be released first in the U.K. on Oct. 25, 2019, and will then hit U.S. screens on Nov. 8, 2019. Production is slated to begin Dec. 3.

The franchise's current leading man, Daniel Craig, is set to return for his fifth film as Agent 007, with Oscar-winner Danny Boyle directing the project based on a script penned by his Trainspotting screenwriting partner John Hodge.

After longtime Bond distributor Sony's deal expired with the franchise's 2015 film Spectre, a battle over distribution rights ensued, wiith major studios like Warner Bros. and Paramount vying for the next pic.

"We are delighted to announce that the exceptionally talented Danny Boyle will be directing Daniel Craig in his fifth outing as James Bond in the 25th installment of the franchise," EON Productions' Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement. "We will begin shooting Bond 25 at Pinewood Studios in December with our partners at MGM and are thrilled that Unversal will be our international distributor."

Joining Wilson and Broccoli in announcing the deal were Kevin Ulrich, chairman of the MGM board of directors; Jonathan Glickman, president of the MGM Motion Picture Group; and Universal Pictures chairman Donna Langley.