Tag Archives: Franchise

James Bond franchise future ‘at critical juncture’ after Daniel Craig admit 007 producers

After several delays, Daniel Craig’s fifth and final James Bond movie No Time To Die should hopefully release in UK cinemas on September 30. And as 2022 marks the 007 films’ 60th anniversary, speculation continues to be rife on who will play the new Bond and what the next reboot will look like. Following Amazon’s acquisition of MGM in an $ 8.45 billion merger, the Bond producers have admitted that the 007 franchise is “at a critical juncture.”

In a statement to The New York Times in a piece on MGM chiefs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson commented on a 007 future beyond Daniel Craig.

They said: “Mike and Pam understand that we are at a critical juncture and that the continuing success of the James Bond series is dependent on us getting the next iteration right and will give us the support we need to do this.

“Amazon has assured us that Bond will continue to debut in movie theatres.

“Our hope is that they will empower Mike and Pam to continue to run MGM unencumbered.”

Edlitz previously told us that the Bond producers are not afraid to take risks to evolve the 007 franchise.

He said: “Three-time Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein told me that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson know where the dead ends are in the scripting stage. While Richard Maibaum, who wrote 13 Bond scripts, talked about the collaborative nature of writing a 007 film.

“The screenwriter said that he would sit in a room with producers Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, as well as the director, production designer and editor and everyone would pitch ideas.

“Everyone I’ve spoken with said that the producers are collaborative and are welcoming of new ideas. However, they’ve been down this road so many times and they have a responsibility to protect the long-term interests of the franchise.”

Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge famously left Bond 25 over “creative differences”, although Edlitz is in the dark on what went on behind-the-scenes there.

Nevertheless, the author added: “But the Daniel Craig Bond films took risks that to some would seem unfathomable years before.”

And on where the 007 franchise could go next he said: “I think EON is clearly interested in experimenting and pushing the boundaries in what is expected in a Bond film.”

No Time To Die hits UK cinemas on September 30, 2021


Review: Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin – A Franchise Riding High

Monster Hunter is a series with a longstanding tradition of being impenetrable to casual first-time players, with systems layered upon systems and tricky combat. In the mainline series Monster Hunter: World provided a multi-platform mainstream breakthrough, while on Switch the recent Monster Hunter Rise followed that lead in applying copious quality of life improvements, and at times aggressive streamlining, to make the experience more palatable for a wide audience. That said, the IP’s broad universe and the intricacies of its monsters are still vitally important factors, and no genre is better suited to making sense of a complex world than a traditional RPG.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin may be a sequel, but it’s worth saying right away that you don’t need to have played this spin-off’s debut to jump into the new release — this reviewer hadn’t, despite a borderline obsession with the main games. There are some returning characters along with some assorted nods and winks that no doubt raise a smile for those that fought through the 3DS epic, but nevertheless Capcom takes a generational approach to storytelling and it is certainly a standalone game.

Playing Wings of Ruin with a lot of background knowledge of the main games isn’t necessary either, but it helped us recognise that this could be another welcome gateway for newcomers. Though some settings, monsters and general environs remind us more of the last generation of Nintendo-centric MH games on 3DS — and indeed World — this is a title that opens up an understanding of how monsters have ticks and behaviours, and introduces all the familiar items and their effects. Although knowing monsters from first-hand battles in past games can help a little in initial encounters, the systems and tutorials on hand here make the game accessible to pretty much any player.

As an RPG, Wings of Ruin isn’t shy about simply tagging along with decades-old genre tropes and methods. You have forests, ice areas, a desert and… you get the idea. You visit a village or town and to earn trust you set off completing quests to prove yourself — it’s almost always the same “this monster is causing problems, deal with it for us” scenario. So yes, it’s arguably a bit of a grind, but games like this are designed to be slowly digested over a number of weeks; in that context it works well.

However, the particularly intriguing aspects of Monster Hunter x RPG come in the combat and party building. You are a Rider, part of a group of rather charming folk that opt to raise, befriend and team up with monsters rather than hunt them. Yes, it’s a bit Pokémon to a limited degree — with a questionable practice of stealing eggs from nests, but let’s not go too deep into that — but as a playthrough develops there’s staggering depth to the setup. Each monster has a preferred ‘type’ that feeds into a rock-paper-scissors combat, and they then have varied special moves, abilities and buffs.

You could absolutely bury yourself in the stats, especially once you have the ability to ‘channel’ abilities between monsters, but the game is also generous enough that you can pay minimal attention and just about get away with it. The setup is clever, and you earn ways to expand your roster of monsters and even send them off on expeditions to level them up when outside your party. Particularly later in the story, you find powerful monsters that you want to use but are 20+ levels lower than desired, so sending them off on 20-30 minute jaunts to level up while you continue with saving the world is smart design. This is a game that encourages you to dive into the detail and build the dream party, but doesn’t judge you too much if you instead opt to stick to your old favourites.

Then there’s your Rider, a charming individual that can buy, forge and upgrade a dizzying array of armour and weapons derived from monsters you’ve faced. As always the Monster Hunter fashion is genuinely fabulous, and we had family members react with amusement to seeing our character in a different outfit pretty much every time they watched us play. There’s depth to admire again, as you carry three weapons and conveniently all the varieties fall into three categories — sword, bow, and hammer / horn — that add yet another wrinkle to the combat. Forging armour and weapons with your preferred moves and buffs is genuinely fun, and then you ditch them for something snazzier within a few hours. That part of the Monster Hunter life is brilliantly recreated here.

As mentioned previously, the combat itself incorporates a rock-paper-scissors format, as you try to second-guess opposing monster’s moves to successfully counteract them. When you know a monster’s patterns you have the tools to win well, as you can determine your accompanying Monstie’s next move or swap them out for a different type. There’s the option to target specific parts, and when you trigger combinations you build up to the option to ‘Ride’ your Monstie for a powerful special, healing you both in the process. As enemies become tougher you also learn how to use various items such as bombs and traps, too, so it’s kept interesting.

Despite the notable positives it’s not quite a clean kill with the combat, despite its solid construction and clever variety. For one thing, later in the game battles can drag on to 20 or more turns, even when you’re doing well and heading for an S rank. If you’re working through a dungeon and are getting snarled up in regular fights it can feel a little long-winded as a result; we spent a lot of time trying to duke around enemies as a result, as thankfully they’re visible on the field. You can also speed up battles, which helps a little, and if you’re over-levelled in an area you can also quick resolve a battle for an instant win. AI ‘buddies’ are another very small complaint — they can be very useful at times, but occasionally a little dim in their moves. They don’t intuitively target the same monster parts as you and will use a heal at silly times. These are relatively small complaints in the big picture, however.

When it comes to equipment, party building and combat, the mechanics in place are strong and clearly introduced. There’s far too much depth to go into fully in the space of a review, but suffice to say Stories 2 does an excellent job of keeping things varied.

Out of necessity, a lot of mechanics and detail are introduced slowly, with clear guides to help you find your way. It’s carefully put together so that it’s easy to grasp, but the victim of this is the story progression early on — another genre trope that is inescapable here. There are long stretches of busy work, where you may spend half a dozen hours on quests that achieve nothing of note but introduce useful mechanics. That’s the nature of RPGs, yes, but we would have preferred some slicker storytelling in the early stretch, in particular.

The story itself is quite simple but enjoyable, all told, and it’s certainly boosted by the lead protagonist and the utterly charming relationship they have with their ‘Monsties’, and ‘Ratha’ in particular. It feels like a while before the plot truly lifts off, but the pay-off is effective because of the lead-up and the excellent cutscene work — they mostly run in-engine, and the animation and direction of these scenes is terrific.

What you will notice in cutscenes are performance dips, and you’re going to see a fair bit of that during gameplay, too. There’s no getting around the fact that this title is not particularly well optimised for Switch, which is disappointing considering the stellar work that went into Rise. It feels like this was developed for PC primarily — where it is getting released on the same day — and then squeezed onto Nintendo’s little hybrid. The framerate even appears, bizarrely, to be unlocked, though it only nudges above 30fps very rarely when indoors with very little on screen.

Even if you don’t worry much about performance, especially in a large-scale RPG where there’s no real-time combat, it’s still noticeable. It can vary wildly depending on location and time of day; we’ve seen an area be smooth-ish at daytime and a juddery disappointment at sunset, and there’s a forest area early-on that runs downright poorly, especially in portable mode. It doesn’t stop you playing, but it is nevertheless hard to completely overlook in the worst-affected areas. That’s a bit of a pity, especially as the art-style is a brightly coloured pleasure, while copious voice-acting and beautiful music elevate the storytelling.

Intriguingly, an effort is being made to boost both story progression and no doubt postgame activity via multiplayer; a big strength of the main series that is getting a chance in this spin-off. Only unlocked after a decent number of hours and progress, you can either go into battles against others or embark on co-op quests — the latter is given more focus. The environments are similar to ‘dens’ you find in the story, with the option to team up with assorted players online or use room IDs. We weren’t able to test it extensively for review, but as a means of teaming up with friends and boosting Monstie collections and resources it’s a fun idea that could add even more longevity.


Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin deserves to find a sizable audience. It’s full of charm and boasts depth that can immerse the committed or be dabbled with by those eager to simply experience the story. As a blend of Monster Hunter with a traditional RPG approach it’s an accomplished effort, and offers the sort of meaty experience that’ll keep most players busy for weeks. Switch owners will need to tolerate some disappointing performance, unfortunately, but the overall experience shines nonetheless. It’s a game of bright colours and wholehearted optimism, which is very welcome indeed.

Oh, and you can name your Monsties; trust us, you’re gonna love these companions.

Read more here >>> Nintendo Life | Reviews

Hot Franchise Concept, Little Kitchen Academy, to Open in Portland, First of 33 Locations to Open in Oregon & Washington

Black Little Kitchen Academy logo with black bird image

Little Kitchen Academy logo

Students cooking in chef coats in Little Kitchen Academy

Changing Lives From Scratch

Founder of LKA kneeling down wearing chef coat next to young girl student in chef coat

Little Kitchen Academy Founder, Felicity Curin

Photo of Iron Chef Cat Cora & LKA Founder, Felicity Curin standing in Little Kitchen Academy together in chef coats

Iron Chef Cat Cora & LKA Founder, Felicity Curin

LKA Area Rep and Philanthropist Michael Silver to Donate All His Proceeds to Charity

We are proud of what we have developed and can’t wait to see it continue to impact more communities around the world as we find more great franchisees and development partners.”

— Brian Curin, CEO and co-founder

PORTLAND, ORE, USA, July 7, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Families in Portland will be the next to experience one of the most exciting new concepts, Little Kitchen Academy (LKA), the first-of-its-kind, Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages three through teen, endorsed by Iron Chef Cat Cora. Despite a pandemic, the two-year-old concept out of British Columbia has inked deals with multi-unit franchisees and area representatives to open more than 70 locations, including 33 in Oregon and Washington with business executive and philanthropist Michael Silver. The Portland location will be the company’s first franchise to open in the U.S. LKA will open its first U.S. location (corporate-owned) in Los Angeles in August, following franchise openings in the greater Toronto and Vancouver areas in July. Little Kitchen Academy is committed to find like-minded franchisees and development partners to open 423 locations worldwide by the end of 2025.

The first Portland area Little Kitchen Academy is slated to open in one of Portland’s premier lifestyle centers with an expected opening date of winter 2021.

The quickly growing concept was founded by Montessori-trained culinary innovator Felicity Curin; her husband, proven global brand and franchise expert and serial entrepreneur Brian Curin; and social impact investor and entrepreneur, Praveen Varshney to provide a safe, inspiring, and empowering space for children to identify, develop, and refine their senses. Upon learning about the concept, Iron Chef Cat Cora signed on as a global brand ambassador, advisor, and honorary head of recipe development.

“We are so excited to bring Little Kitchen Academy to more children in the Pacific Northwest, first in Portland and then across Oregon and Washington, because we see the impact we are having on our students, their families, and the community every day,” said Felicity Curin, founder, president, and COO of Little Kitchen Academy. “When children enter our kitchen and put on their chef coat, they stand a little bit taller. We see them transform in front of our eyes! It’s so inspiring to watch the overwhelming joy and pride our students feel at the end of class when their parents or caregivers come to pick them up and they get to show off the meal they made from scratch and apply at home many of the practical life skills they’ve developed with us.”

Michael Silver signed on early to be the area representative for Oregon and Washington, two of just 11 U.S. states targeted to initially open the Canadian concept in the U.S. He will oversee 33 franchise locations. Silver is an accomplished business executive (owner and CEO of several companies, including Audio High, one of the leading home and corporate theater companies) and founder of two charitable foundations known as Silver Linings. For Michael, this is more than just an exciting business opportunity, as he has chosen to donate all proceeds from his Little Kitchen Academy operations to charity. Silver has training in business, music, and the culinary arts (trained at the Culinary Institute of America). Earlier in his career he worked as a software engineering manager and has managed projects and written code for corporate giants such as Apple, Google, AOL, CompuServe, General Electric, NASA, and others.

“It was easy to see how getting in early with Little Kitchen Academy to help the company find franchisees to bring 33 locations to Washington and Oregon could only help more local communities to flourish. Little Kitchen Academy’s mission is a nice fit with our mission at Silver Linings, where we fund programs that improve the lives of children. Besides teaching food exploration and meal creation, it is wonderful to see the development of decision-making skills and the resulting self-esteem, independence, and pride students gain from their efforts. We see this as such a wonderful business and opportunity to bring to children in the Pacific Northwest and through the Silver Linings Foundation,” said Michael Silver, CEO of Audio High and founder of Silver Linings.

“We could not be more delighted to have an amazing partner like Michael Silver joining us on our journey of changing lives from scratch by bringing the LKA experience to Oregon and Washington,” said Brian Curin, co-founder and CEO of Little Kitchen Academy. “We are proud of what we have developed and can’t wait to see it continue to impact more communities around the world as we find more great franchisees and development partners.”

“Little Kitchen Academy is so important to me. When I first met Brian and Felicity and learned about the concept, I immediately knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. When I experienced a class and saw how empowered and independent the students were in the kitchen in response to the caring Montessori-inspired approach, I was certain that we had to share this incredible gift with as many children as possible,” said Cat Cora. “As a mother, I was drawn to and am completely aligned with the unique curriculum and food philosophy. There’s never been a time when a program like this was more needed than now.” Cora has served as a key advisor to the company since opening its doors in June 2019. (Hear why Cora wanted to be a part of changing lives from scratch with LKA at: https://youtu.be/b-zR6Lcltxs)

Seasonal Sessions Year-round

Seasonal sessions run year-round and are organized by age group (ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 13+ years old). Students experience a three-hour class once a week during the school year or over five consecutive days during Summer, Winter, & Spring breaks. In each class students learn how to make healthy, delicious, and seasonal meals from scratch to consumption—all while experimenting with math and science concepts, working on their reading skills, and polishing up their table manners by sharing meals around the LKA community table (made with more than 33,00 recycled chopsticks). Sessions are limited to just 10 students and are overseen by three instructors. The curriculum focuses on seasonal, locally grown, and organic produce and ingredients, and students enjoy the fruits of their labor for a “scratch to consumption” experience at the end of each lesson. All students are welcome in this fully inclusive program, including those with learning or other disabilities. The program, which is nut, meat, poultry, and seafood free, also can accommodate those with gluten, dairy, or other allergies.

The Montessori Approach

LKA’s Montessori-inspired environment is organized to support the growth and development of each child. Instructors show the students how to safely use tools, but step back to closely observe the independent work, only stepping in when deemed appropriate. This approach enables students to learn at their own pace while they acquire practical life skills that foster independence, confidence, and socialization. LKA further empowers students to make better food choices, to apply age-appropriate math and science skills in real-world settings, and embrace practices such as recycling, composting, and the concept of philanthropy in order to make positive, socially conscious contributions to the world through its recently announced global philanthropic initiative “How Can I Help,” which empowers students to learn about giving back and making a difference by putting the choice in their hands to support one of three notable causes. Learn more about LKA’s innovative philanthropic program: https://littlekitchenacademy.com/how-can-i-help/

The Inspiration and Trajectory

LKA is the brain trust of Founder Felicity Curin, a mother of three, who combined three of her life-long passions: cooking, education, and children. She is a trained chef who began her career at Earls Restaurants, a Canadian-based upscale eatery chain. She also is the daughter of the founding headmaster of the prestigious West Point Grey Academy and took her natural ability to teach and love for children to the classroom by getting her (AMI) Association Montessori Internationale teaching degree. The idea for Little Kitchen Academy was born in 2018 and Felicity opened her first location in June 2019. Her husband and co-founder, Brian Curin, quickly developed the brand and franchise model, secured the company’s early investors and advisors, and set out to secure global partners and the first multi-unit franchisees and development partners. Two locations in Canada are opening this July: LKA South Surrey (Greater Vancouver, BC) on July 12th and LKA Oakville (Greater Toronto, ON) on July 17th. At least six new locations will open in 2021 with the first U.S. location being Los Angeles and the second (and first franchise location) being Portland.

Little Kitchen Academy is currently seeking like-minded multi-unit franchisees and development partners based exclusively in AZ, CA, CO, FL, IL, MS, NC, OR, TX, WA, and WI. Internationally, LKA is focused on expanding further into Canada in AB, select markets in BC, and ON, as well as Australia, India, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, MENA region, Singapore, Spain, and the U.K.

The Signature Environment
The Portland Little Kitchen Academy will feature the brand’s signature innovative and modern design and include 10 individual cooking stations (a.k.a. Little Kitchens); a handwashing station; a living food wall powered by AeroGarden for students to grow and harvest fruits, vegetables, and herbs for use in their creations; the LKA Community Table made by ChopValue from more than 33,000 recycled chopsticks; a stocked pantry and refrigeration system for the children to gather their ingredients; laundry facilities for the little chef coats; an educational recycling and composting area; and restrooms. Each of the 10 individual cooking stations includes an oven, induction cooktop, sink, cleaning and sanitizing supplies, prep table, mixer, and all the equipment and utensils needed to make the “from scratch” creations including vegetable peelers, rolling pins, measuring spoons, and colanders, which are meticulously kept, cleaned, and commercially sanitized between each class.

About Little Kitchen Academy

Little Kitchen Academy (LKA) is the key ingredient for an independent child. The first-of-its-kind, Montessori-inspired cooking academy for kids ages three through teen is focused on providing a safe, inspiring, and empowering space for children to identify, develop and refine their senses. Based in Vancouver, Canada, the concept was co-founded by proven global brand and franchise expert and serial entrepreneur Brian Curin, his wife, Montessori-trained, culinary expert and visionary Felicity Curin, and social impact investor and entrepreneur Praveen Varshney, on the belief that by empowering children with practical life skills and knowledge in a positive and joyful environment, they and their company will effect positive lifestyle changes that result in a healthier world. True to its mission, LKA lives to create a more educated, able, and healthy society through mindful, healthy eating choices, and is committed to changing lives, from scratch to consumption. Part of that mission includes empowering students to learn how they can make the world a better place through How Can I Help by Little Kitchen Academy, LKA’s signature philanthropic program, supporting Chefs for Humanity, The Global FoodBanking Network, Kids Help Phone, and PHIT America. In addition to charitable partnerships, LKA has forged strategic global brand partnerships with Iron Chef Cat Cora, AeroGarden, BIRKENSTOCK, ChefWorks, Emeco, ChopValue, Welcome Industries, Location3, and PRISE Inc. Little Kitchen Academy’s flagship venues are located in Vancouver, BC and Los Angeles, CA.

For a taste of Little Kitchen Academy, visit littlekitchenacademy.com or join its communities on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Judy Johnson
The Brand Partnership
+1 213-200-5577
email us here
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Author: Judy Johnson
Read more here >>> usnews

Harlem Globetrotters petition NBA to become official franchise

The Globetrotter’s letter petitioned Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA governors to grant the team a franchise, “not now, but right now!”

WASHINGTON — The Harlem Globetrotters wrote a letter to the NBA demanding to be made an official part of the professional basketball league.

The Globetrotters, founded in 1926, said on Monday that it has been 72 years since the team played in an NBA game, beating the Lakers in 1949.

Citing how the NBA is now a “multi-billion-dollar industry with international endeavors and huge media deals,” the Globetrotter’s letter petitioned Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA governors to grant the team a franchise. 

“Not now, but right now!” the letter urged.

The letter dives into the team’s decades of contributions to the league, including the first Black player to sign with the NBA, Nat Sweetwater Clifton, and the first Black man to play in the NBA, Earl Lloyd. Both were Globetrotters.

It also highlighted its success to “pack arenas and grow the game of basketball across the globe.” The statement said the team brought basketball to the world stage and played in 122 countries, while the NBA has only played in 17.

It added that “when the NBA struggled to draw more than a few thousand fans, we agreed to schedule doubleheaders featuring the Globetrotters.”

When the NBA grew, the Globetrotters claimed the league was then able to attract “the best Black players, but we remember who helped the NBA get it all started.”

RELATED: Vaccinated NBA head coaches allowed to go without masks for games

“So, if you really believe what you’ve been saying about social justice, going back to ‘normal’ needs to look different. You can’t just act like we don’t exist anymore,” the Globetrotters statement reads. “It’s time to right the wrongs and rewrite history. It’s time for the NBA to honor what the Globetrotters have done for OUR sport, both here in the U.S. and around the globe.”

Adding the Globetrotters might not be out of the question. In December, according to NBC Sports, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hinted at possibly expanding the NBA.

“I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point,” Silver said, according to NBC Sports. “I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion. We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic. But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.”

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Sports

Vin Diesel details plans to wrap 'Fast and Furious' movie franchise

“I know people are going to feel like it doesn’t have to end, but I think all good things should,” Diesel said about plans to conclude the ‘Fast and Furious’ saga.

Vin Diesel made a mark as the street racer patriarch in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, but the storyline starring his longstanding character will soon come to an end.

Diesel said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press that the “Fast and Furious” saga will conclude after two more films following the upcoming ninth installment, “F9,” which releases in theaters June 25. He said Universal Pictures wants to close out the saga in two parts.

The actor said the final two films could potentially release in 2023 then 2024.

“Every story deserves its own ending,” said Diesel during a press junket for “F9” when asked about the franchise’s future. Despite the end of the saga, he said the “Fast and Furious” cinematic universe will continue on.

When Diesel told his daughter about the franchise’s conclusion, the actor said she began shedding tears.

“I know people are going to feel like it doesn’t have to end, but I think all good things should,” he said. “There are reasons for a finale. I think this franchise has deserved it.”

Diesel has starred as Dominic Toretto since the franchise’s inaugural film “The Fast and Furious” in 2001. The movies have become big earners at the domestic and international box office, with the past two films each making more than $ 1 billion.

Along with Diesel, the action films have featured several others including Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, rapper Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, Jason Statham and the late Paul Walker. In 2019, Johnson and Statham starred in the franchise’s first spin-off film “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” which claimed the No. 1 spot and earned $ 180.8 million in its worldwide debut.

Last year, Universal pushed back the release of “F9” due to the coronavirus outbreak. The new film not only brings back a fan favorite — Sung Kang’s Han — along with new additions including John Cena, but the story will also literally send a car into space. It’s expected to be one of the season’s biggest hits.

Director Justin Lin said the idea of finishing the saga came during a conversation with Diesel, who has played the leading role in eight “Fast and Furious” films.

“We got together and Vin says ’I think we should think about closing up the saga now,’” said Lin, who has directed five of the franchise’s films. He will direct the final two installments.

“Nine is kind of the first film of the final chapter,” the director said. “We’re kind of reconfiguring everything, so that the next two movies should wrap up this amazing journey for these characters.”

Diesel said the franchise has come a long way, but he finally sees a finish line.

“This franchise was born from the pavement, from the concrete,” he said. “The world just championed this underdog to a place where it has already surpassed all of these other franchises. But the franchise has a soul, and that soul has to rest.”

This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

James Bond: Amazon ‘wants 007 franchise to be more Sci-Fi’ in ‘shared universe’ after deal

Last week, MGM was acquired by Amazon in a whopping $ 8.45 billion deal. The almost century-old film studio has been producing the James Bond movies for near to 60 years and fans have been wondering what will change going forwards. While not much is likely to happen immediately, sources are claiming there are still plans.

Allegedly, Amazon want to “put more Sci-Fi elements” into the Bond franchise in the next reboot after Daniel Craig’s era.

This is according to We Got This Covered’s sources, who correctly predicted that Ahsoka would be in The Mandalorian and that Han was returning to Fast and Furious 9.

While the Craig Bond era has been more grounded in a gritty reality, the 007 franchise has had some more fantastical turns in the past.

Aside from Roger Moore’s trip to space in Moonraker, Piers Brosnan’s last outing Die Another Day featured an invisible car.

While such Sci-Fi touches would make some Bond fans baulk, others may like the idea of 007 being a bit more like Mission: Impossible or the Fast and Furious movies in their more outlandish moments.

Aside from this, Giant Freakin Robot’s sources claim that Amazon want Bond to become a cinematic universe after Craig bows out as 007 in No Time To Die.

While their insiders won’t disclose how exactly, let’s not forget that the Bond world has some pretty memorable villains and female leads who could hypothetically carry their own movies or TV shows.

Although, whatever decisions are made would have to be finalised with EON productions who not only own half the rights to the Bond film franchise but also have the final say on changes to the brand.

However, Edlitz doesn’t think that such projects will come about in the immediate future.

The expert continued: “While Amazon might want to use any of those ideas, EON’s strategy has been to keep Bond as a scarce entertainment venture.

“Even in terms of merchandising, they have resisted flooding the market with Bond merchandise.

“EON’s strategy has been effective. Always leave them wanting more.”

Edlitz added: “Instead of copying Disney’s approach to content, I suspect that Amazon’s will replicate their business strategy.

“When Disney bought Marvel and Lucasfilm, Disney did not impose their methods on those two successful companies. 

“Instead, Disney allowed Marvel and Lucasfilm to retain their core identities.  Amazon will do the same with EON.”

Meanwhile, No Time To Die is still set to hit cinemas on September 30, 2021.


This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

£1million franchise grant fund launched to seed 200 new small businesses

Although the pandemic has changed the business landscape with many more firms struggling as recovery begins, demand for property-related services has boomed. Fantastic Services, which covers cleaning, gardening, handyman, pest control and removals, has expanded into 20 new areas in the past year.

The company’s grant initiative plans to meet the initial expenses for starting a home services business. Prime clients are those who have lost their job, the self-employed or those experiencing business struggles due to coronavirus.

Anton Skarlatov, the co-founder and CEO of Fantastic Services, explained: “The grant covers most of the expenses for starting a working franchise business with Fantastic Services.”

Rune Sovndahl, the co-founder and board chairman, added: “Since the start of the pandemic, we have looked for ways to give back to the community, offering free services to NHS and frontline workers. With the new grant programme, we provide a viable alternative to employment through franchising and help anyone restart their career or business in a high-demand sector.”

The Fantastic Services grant programme is suitable for tradespeople, technicians with experience in the services sector and people who are looking to change industries and will bring customer service skills to the table.

Franchisees can work on-site along with their team or manage several local ones in London and other areas across the UK. It’s geared for local service providers or self-employed tradespeople who offer one or a selection of services.

HQ’s emphasis is on generating sales leads leaving franchisees to deliver the service. The company says it has invested £20m in bespoke technology platforms to streamline the booking process and work allocation.

For more information and an application form, visit https://fantasticfranchise.com/fantastic-grant.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

James Bond: The impact of MGM’s Amazon deal on the 007 movie franchise explained EXCLUSIVE

Earlier this week James Bond studio MGM was purchased for $ 8.45 billion by tech giant Amazon. Since the announcement, movie fans have been wondering what the deal will mean for the film franchise going forwards, other than producer Barbara Broccoli’s commitment to keep making 007 movies for cinemas worldwide. Speaking exclusively with Express.co.uk, Bond expert and author Mark Edlitz, who has interviewed key franchise players over the years, weighed in on what he thinks will happen next.
Edlitz, most recently the author of The Lost Adventures of James Bond, admitted that the Amazon deal will have no impact on the 007 film franchise in the immediate future.

He said: “It will take time for the Amazon-MGM partnership to finalise and go through the regulatory approvals process. But more importantly, Amazon did not buy the franchise outright. Amazon is now in a partnership with EON.”

Bond fans will know that EON Productions is the UK based production company that has made the official 007 movies since 1962’s Dr No.

So now Amazon and EON own half of the rights each, but ultimately the latter organisation has the final say on changes.

Edlitz continued: “The creatives who work with EON have consistently reported that EON are generous and supportive collaborators.

“But ultimately, EON calls the shots. Still, there are many instances where EON has made concessions to support the wishes and mandates of their studio partners.

“The only way that Amazon can fully control Bond is if they buy out EON’s interest in the franchise. I do not see that happening. “

As for why, the expert shared how it’s simply the fact that the production company enjoys making Bond movies and are good at it.

The author told us: “Three-time Bond screenwriter Bruce Feirstein told me that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson know where the dead ends are in the scripting stage. While Richard Maibaum, who wrote 13 Bond scripts, talked about the collaborative nature of writing a 007 film.

“The screenwriter said that he would sit in a room with producers Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, Harry Saltzman, as well as the director, production designer and editor and everyone would pitch ideas.

“Everyone I’ve spoken with said that the producers are collaborative and are welcoming of new ideas. However, they’ve been down this road so many times and they have a responsibility to protect the long-term interests of the franchise.”

Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter John Hodge famously left Bond 25 over “creative differences”, although Edlitz is in the dark on what went on behind-the-scenes there.

Nevertheless, Edlitz added: “But the Daniel Craig Bond films took risks that to some would seem unfathomable years before.”

And on where the 007 franchise could go next he said: “I think EON is clearly interested in experimenting and pushing the boundaries in what is expected in a Bond film.”

Interestingly, Broccoli teased the next reboot to Total Film last year saying: “It will have to be reimagined, in the way each actor has reimagined the role.

“That’s what is so exciting and fun about this franchise; the character evolves. Eventually, when we have to think about it, we’ll find the right person.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

James Bond: Changes to the franchise 'could happen quickly' after MGM acquisition

Today it was announced that Amazon has entered into a “definitive merger agreement” with MGM. This acquisition will see the media conglomerate take on the enormous library of content MGM owns, including James Bond, the Rocky series, Legally Blonde, Raging Bull, Robocop, Silence of the Lambs and many more. Global CEO of Investis Digital, Don Scales, who has led over 40 merger and acquisitions in his career, has now commented on the gigantic $ 8.45 billion merger.
The expert has explored this topic thoroughly in his new book The M&A Solution: A Values-Based Approach to Integrate Companies.

Discussing how quickly fans could see the content being moved between the two companies, Don said: “Well, legally, they change hands very quickly.”

“How [Amazon] want to integrate [MGM] is really kind of based upon them and their plan and how far they want to take their integration.

“You can imagine, there are a lot of stuff at MGM that Amazon can use, so it’s really focussed on the content side of this thing. That could take place quickly.”

In recent months there have been talks about whether the next Bond film, No Time To Die, will instead premiere on a streaming service rather than the big screen.

READ MORE: Next James Bond: Tom Hardy lead threatened by Inbetweeners Movie star

These questions have come into play after No Time To Die was delayed a number of times, from April 2020 to September 2021.

But could MGM have sold off the Bond rights with a stipulation that it ought to remain a cinema release only? Don says yes.

He said: “I’m sure they could have. And I’m sure the Broccoli family had some say in this, [but] I don’t know how those discussions went.”

Since the merger was announced, the Broccoli family released a statement confirming the next Bond movie will be coming out in theatres only.

All eyes are on the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus at this point, who are yet to make any large acquisitions of their own.

Will these streaming giants now be quaking in their boots over Amazon’s purchase? Don said: “I don’t think they get scared, but definitely concerned, we’ll say.

“They need to be doing something. And watch out, I think Apple is next. I think Apple is going to have to step up pretty quickly.”

Of course, Apple’s TV platform – Apple TV Plus – is still in its infancy, but with names like Steven Spielberg on board, they could be next to recreate their look.

On the legendary acquisition, Mike Hopkins, the senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios commented: “MGM has a vast catalog with more than 4,000 films … as well as 17,000 TV shows – including Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Vikings – that have collectively won more than 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys.

“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalogue that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”

Chairman of the Board of Directors of MGM, Kevin Ulrich, added: “It has been an honour to have been a part of the incredible transformation of Metro Goldwyn Mayer. To get here took immensely talented people with a true belief in one vision. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the MGM team who have helped us arrive at this historic day.

“I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision. The opportunity to align MGM’s storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination.”

James Bond No Time To Die is due out on September 30, 2021.

Pre-order Don Scales’ new book, The M&A Solution: A Values-Based Approach to Integrate Companies, here.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Long lost franchise heading to PS5 as an exclusive? Xbox Series X fans would be jealous

The ninth-console generation is unlike any other, with all platform holders truly offering something different. While Nintendo has long gone on its own ever since the GameCube era, trying something different with the Wii onwards Sony and Xbox have largely been in a battle of horsepower and who has the best AAA exclusives. This time around it’s different though, with Sony going down a traditional console route with the PS5 and Microsoft pushing the value of its Game Pass service with the Xbox Series X and S.
At the start of this gen Sony has already bolstered its incredible first-party exclusive line-up with third-party exclusives, such as upcoming games Forsaken and Final Fantasy 16 from Square Enix and Deathloop and GhostWire: Tokyo from Bethesda.

And Sony may have another third-party exclusive up its sleeves that Xbox gamers may be jealous about.

Twitter user and YouTuber @foxygames_uk is hinting at an unannounced PS5 timed exclusive.

And while the gaming tipster did not specifically name what IP Sony might have struck a deal for a heavy hint was dropped.

Foxy Games UK tweeted: “Hong Kong seems like a really good setting for a unannounced #PS5 *Timed Exclusive.”

Looking back, there aren’t too many Hong Kong-based games that could be getting revived for the PS5.

The PS3 and Xbox 360 got the John Woo shooter Stranglehold, but given how niche that title was a follow-up seems unlikely.

The more obvious candidate, however, would be another long lost franchise from the PS3 and Xbox 360 era.

Sleeping Dogs is a Hong Kong-based open-world crime game in the vein of GTA.

It was originally envisioned as part of the True Crime series, before that series was canned.

Sleeping Dogs received positive reviews on its release in 2012, getting an 83 PS3 Metacritic rating and an 80 Xbox 360 Metacritic score.

While the open-world crime game also debuted in at number one on UK games sales charts, going on to sell 1.5million copies within its first month and a half on sale.

But despite the new IP winning over plenty of fans, a sequel to the title ended up getting scrapped and news on the franchise has gone quiet.

An enhanced version was released for the PS4 and Xbox One in 2014, with a macOS edition also dropping in 2016.

But apart from that news on whether the franchise will continue has gone quiet.

The tweet from Foxy Games UK, however, has sparked speculation that the franchise could be about to make a return.

Replying to the tweet one gamer posted: “Sleeping Dogs would be amazing”.

While another wrote: “Sleeping Dogs?”

And one added: “Stop tempting us”.

With a Sleeping Dogs movie in the works starring Ip Man martial arts legend Donnie Yen now could be the perfect time to revive the series.

Square Enix will be taking part in E3 this year, so if a Sleeping Dogs revival is in the works we may find out then.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Gaming Feed