Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. and the producers of the James Bond franchise sued NBCUniversal Media LLC saying a screenplay for a movie in development, “Section 6,” infringes its copyright to the 007 character.
“This lawsuit concerns a motion picture project, in active development, featuring a daring, tuxedo-clad British agent, employed by ‘His Majesty’s Secret Service,’ with a ‘license to kill’ and a 00, double-0, secret agent on a mission to save England,” Danjaq LLC, the producers, and MGM said in a redacted complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles.
The James Bond franchise is among Hollywood’s most enduring. Twenty-four films dating back to 1963’s “Dr. No” have grossed $1.91 billion in U.S. theaters, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, an industry researcher. The most recent, 2012’s “Skyfall,” took in $304.4 million domestically.
Universal has hired a director, lead actor, and four experienced producers to work on “Section 6,” according to the complaint. Universal last month refused to let MGM’s lawyers see the most recent version of the screenplay to determine whether the alleged infringing material was still part of it, according to the complaint.
MGM and Danjaq seek a court order halting any infringement of the James Bond copyright and unspecified damages.
Kori Bernards, a spokeswoman for Universal, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail after regular business hours yesterday seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Closely held MGM, Sony Corp. and Danjaq plan to release the next Bond film in October 2015 in the U.K and in the U.S. the following month, according to a July statement.
The case is Danjaq LLC v. Universal City Studios LLC, 14-02527, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles.)