James Bond studio denies ‘scaring off’ 007 competitors

Studio deny dirty tricks after launching lawsuit against Universal

The distributors of the James Bond films have denied they’re trying to “scare off” competition from rival film-makers, after launching a lawsuit against Universal Studios for allegedly stealing their ideas with plans for a supposedly similar new movie.

According to The Hollywood Reporter MGM-Danjaq are suing Universal claiming that its new movie Section 6 copies ideas from the Bond franchise. Universal had attempted to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that MGM-Danjaq were attempting to scare away any Bond rivals. Universal also said that Section 6 was being revised and that the film hadn’t even officially been given the go-ahead.

But, in a new brief filed in the US District Court in Los Angeles, MGM-Danjaq have reproduced scriptwriter Aaron Berg’s script for the film, highlighting areas they contend “directly infringes” the James Bond copyright.

The brief claims Berg was paid $1 million (£590,000) for his script, stating: “It would be contrary to industry practice and make no sense to pay anything close to that amount” for a script unless it was likely to be used. Universal say they have given assurances that Section 6 won’t infringe MGM-Danjaq’s copyright. The hearing is due to take place on July 28.

MGM, which also owns the rights to The Hobbit, has begun producing the 24th Bond film. It will again star Daniel Craig and be directed by Sam Mendes, who helmed 2012’s Skyfall. Penelope Cruz is rumoured to be playing Bond’s love interest, though her agents have so far denied this.