Now in its second century of filmmaking excellence, Pinewood Studios continues to serve England as its biggest, most legendary motion picture facility. Located in the little village of Iver Heath, in the area of England known as Buckinghamshire, Pinewood is best known for its world-renowned Albert R. Broccoli/007 Stage, which stands as a constant reminder of the countless number of features --- some American-made, some British-made --- that were shot here.
The Broccoli Stage honors the memory of the producer whose Eon Productions Limited remains homebase of all 007 features, all of which are available on DVD and Blu-ray! --- including the 007 epics starring Daniel Craig, starting with Casino Royale, the first Bond movie under a partnership between Danjaq LLC, MGM and Columbia Pictures; its action-packed follow-up, Quantum of Solace......
Then, on the franchise's Golden Anniversary, the world's most famous licence to kill was renewed! Skyfall, the 23rd official adventure of 007, now on DVD and Blu-ray, dared to merit its own unprecedented milestone, when it became the first Bond film to emerge triumphant at the Academy Awards! It was a truly fabulous Oscar Night for Adele and her co-composer/producer Paul Epworth, when the Skyfall title track won the Oscar for Best Original Song! And to further put the icing on the cake, on the Oscar Night in question, Academy Award winner --- and Bond Girl --- Halle Berry introduced a montage of the sights, sounds and memories of 50 years of 007 --- and the segment wrapped up as only it could: with the first-ever Academy Award appearance of Dame Shirley Bassey, singing (what else?) Goldfinger!
Previously awash in some $3.7 billion in debt, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer renewed itself, having filed for bankruptcy protection and restructuring in November 2010. Skyfall was Daniel Craig's third appearance as 007; Academy Award winner Sam Mendes directed a screenplay by John Logan, along with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade. Co-starring with Daniel: Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Berenice Marlohe, Naomie Harris, Dame Judi Dench, making her final appearance as M, and Javier Bardem as the vengeful Silva, a rogue MI6 agent with a personal grudge against M. Taking 007 through London, Edinburgh, Beijing, Shanghai and Istanbul, Skyfall also won the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing.
And not only did James Bond return, so too did Sam Mendes. Bond's 24th movie, SPECTRE, found Olivier Award-winning playwright Jez Butterworth joining the Logan-Purvis-Wade team. SPECTRE, by the way, is the Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, long associated with one of Bond's most frequent nemeses, that cat-obsessed Ernst Stavro Blofeld! But this isn't your father's SPECTRE, because now, there's a new evil genius at the top: Franz Oberhauser, played by Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz. The new story, set immediately after the events of Skyfall, also starred Ralph Fiennes, replacing Judi Dench as M, and Ben Wisham as Q. "I am very pleased that, by giving me all the time I need to honor all my theatrical stage commitments, the Producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24," Sam said in a statement posted last Christmas by Sony Pictures and Danjaq LLC. Now out on Digital DVD and Blu-ray, SPECTRE is the last Bond film (for now) to be distributed through the aforementioned partnership of Danjaq LLC, MGM and Columbia Pictures. Sam Smith sings the main title song, "The Writing's on the Wall," which he co-wrote with Jimmy Napes --- thus becoming the first solo male British-born vocalist to sing a Bond theme song since 1965, when Tom Jones told the world how "he strikes like Thunderball." And more, Oscar honored Team Danjaq, Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes with the Best Original Song for a second consecutive year --- making Bond the first film franchise to win back-to-back in just this category! Visit Google, Yahoo! and Bing to see all the SPECTRE reviews!
Oh, did we mention that Pinewood Shepperton has an American home, too? indeed it does: Pinewood Shepperton, in a joint venture with River's Rock LLC, controlled by the Cathay family, owners of the Chick-fil-A fast-food empire, controls the awesome Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayetteville, Georgia. Encompassing six soundstages on 288 acres just outside Atlanta/Fulton County, Pinewood Atlanta is a magnificent state-of-the-art facility, where the finest in movie, TV, web-only and video games are developed. Pinewood Shepperton maintains a 40% controlling interest in Pinewood Atlanta, and also provides sales and marketing services. Pinewood also has a Canadian facility, Pinewood Toronto Studios, in the heart of Ontario's capital city.
But let's remember, for the purposes of this present website, that it was here on the Broccoli Stage in 1978 that cinematic history was made, when Alexander and Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler chose Pinewood to serve as production homebase for the first Superman movie. Team Salkind returned to Pinewood faithfully year in and year out from then on, filming two additional features with the Last Son of Krypton ..... and then, in August 1984, having completed their historic adventures with Kal-El's cousin Kara of Argo --- better known as Supergirl --- the folks who made the world believe that people could fly turned their attention to that other flight-capable, red-suit wearing permanent resident of the North Pole: the Man of Steel's next-door neighbor himself, Santa Claus!
Together, Pinewood Shepperton take on the filmmaking challenges of a constantly expanding digital age, under the leadership of a team whose members include Sir Ridley Scott, and which remains committed to serving the filmmaking communities in the U.S. and the U.K. with a renewed strength unprecedented in cinema history!
In 2014, the Pinewood Group, as they're calling Pinewood Shepperton these days, was sold to the investment fund Venus Grafton, for some $425 million. The deal was finalized in August 2016, resulting in part in a further expansion of the Headquarters at Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.
And though some may still question the 007 Stage's ability to function, its fans continue to marvel at its incredible usefulness and inventive modernism!
As of right now, however, five key studios are locked in a bidding struggle. At stake: the U.S./North American distribution rights for 007's next adventure, which insiders expect to be Daniel Craig's final film as our favorite secret agent. Sony Pictures, who for nearly a decade has been Eon Productions' exclusive U.S. home, now faces Warner Bros., whose DC Comics films are legends (some more often than most); 20th Century-Fox; Universal; and independent distributor Annapurna Pictures for a one-film only distribution arrangement. To date, no word about director, title, storyline or other elements. Please visit http://www.007.com's Press Release section for further announcements.
We also wish to note the passing of one of Bond's best friends: director Guy Hamilton, he of Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, died at a local hospital on the island of Majorca in Spain. He was 93. As most Salkind and Supermovie fans know, Guy had been forced to drop out as Superman: The Movie's intended skipper, in that, being a British tax exile, he could not join the team that was about to shape the original Superman movie, setting the stage for the odyssey of Richard Donner, and all that eventually followed.
This portion of KringleQuest.com 3.0 examines the massive sets developed for Santa Claus: The Movie by its Production Designer, two-time Academy Award nominee Anthony Pratt, and takes a further look at Pinewood's Christmas history. For additional info on Pinewood Studios, click as shown above, or check out Yahoo! Britain & Ireland!