When Sony Corp.-owned (SNE) - Get Report Sony Pictures Entertainment lost the rights to the James Bond film franchise with the 2015 release of "Spectre," Time Warner Inc.'s (TWX) Warner Brothers was the front-runner to take over the enormously successful brand. But now, Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) - Get Report have entered the race to win Agent 007's rights, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Warner had previously led the pack of bidders on the franchise, which consisted of players from MGM Holdings Inc., Comcast Corp.'s (CMCSA) - Get Report Universal and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOX) - Get Report . The two tech giants are said to be ready to offer as much as Warner for the rights to the brand.
The Bond brand is considered underdeveloped by today's standards by analysts. Many franchises with the same worldwide appeal as James Bond have pushed into all mediums, released merchandise for a wide variety of ages and even spun off their own universes for subsequent films.
Insiders think Apple and Amazon's entrance into the arena suggests more than just film rights are up for grabs with the Bond franchise. Recent estimates value the Bond brand between $2 billion and $5 billion, but including licensing rights in a deal for film rights could push the deal's value into the billions of dollars, the Hollywood Reporter added.
Apple stock traded down 0.6% midday Wednesday. Amazon stock was down 0.3%.
More of What's Trending on TheStreet: