Sony offered US$5m to have Xperia Z4 featured in new Bond movie but was rejected

24 Apr 2015

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Spectre star Daniel Craig. Photo via Shutterstock

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Given James Bond’s reputation as a user of cutting-edge tech, it’s no surprise that a firm like Sony would want the secret service agent sporting its latest flagship phone.

In fact, emails obtained from last year’s cyber attack on Sony Pictures, and since published by Wikileaks, have revealed that the consumer tech giant was willing to pay US$5m for Bond to carry the Xperia Z4 in his forthcoming adventure Spectre.

But, in what will hurt Sony like a Walther PPK shot to the chest, the movie’s star, Daniel Craig, and director, Sam Mendes, resisted taking the offer because, “James Bond only uses the ‘best'”.

The e-mails were sent last October. The first, written by Columbia Pictures executive George Leon, detailed plans to secure a new endorsement deal with Sony for the movie, with Leon explaining that the company was willing to pay Craig US$5m to use the device, with a further US$18m budgeted for advertising and US$5 million to go towards production.

He wrote: “Sony Mobile has now provided us with the needed visuals of the new Z4 Phones. These phones are the planned phones for May/November of 2015.

“Barbara [Broccoli, the Bond series producer] has it and will be meeting with Sam/Daniel shortly to discuss and to come back with their design for the phone. Mobile is fine and is waiting to hear from us.

“Barbara wants to get a placement fee for putting the phone in. She understands that Sony is willing to commit to a marketing/advertising campaign of US$18m, but she wants an additional placement fee.”

Do you expect me to talk…on a Sony?

Craig and Mendes objected to the deal, as described in a second published email sent a couple of weeks later by Andrew Gumpert, Columbia Pictures’ president of worldwide business affairs and operations.

“Beyond the $$ factor, there is, as you may know, a creative factor, whereby Sam and Daniel don’t like the Sony phone for the film (the thinking, subjectively/objectively is that James Bond only uses the ‘best,’ and, in their minds, the Sony phone is not the ‘best’)”.

Barring any further revelations, we may have to wait until the release of Spectre on 6 November to see which phone the pair did think was best.

Daniel Craig image via Shutterstock

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Dean is a freelance journalist and editor covering media.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com