In a year which has already been a tough one for Sony, following 2014's hack surrounding The Interview's controversy, the thought of losing the rights to the James Bond franchise must be nauseating. They've already lent Spider-Man to Marvel Studios for a co-production, so can they really give up Bond, as well?
They might not have a choice.
Spectre is the last in a two-picture deal between Sony and distributor MGM in 2011. MGM controls the rights to Bond and they'll likely test the waters of free agency following Spectre's release.
While the highest bidder may seem like the go-to choice for MGM, Sony may have a case even if another studio were to offer up more cash. Their success with the Bond franchise has only reaped rewards for MGM, starting in 2006 with Casino Royale and followed by Quantum of Solace in 2008 and Skyfall in 2012. Skyfall even set an opening weekend record for Bond with $88 million and Spectre is tracking at around $80 million with two weeks until its release.
A successful weekend could be bitter sweet. While the financial rewards will be pleasing for Sony, it could grab more attention from other studios with the even more obvious indication of Bond films being a cash cow.
Spectre hits theaters November 6, 2015.