Sean Connery in “Never Say Never Again.”


A lawsuit over an allegedly incomplete James Bond box set has been given the green light to continue, Variety reports, leaving MGM and 20th Century Fox feeling shaken and stirred.

Mary Johnson, a resident of Pierce County, Wash., purchased a Bond box set in 2016 that was advertised as containing “all the Bond films gathered together for the first time.” When she received the $106 set, however, she discovered it did not contain the 1967 version of Casino Royale or Never Say Never Again from 1983.

Johnson filed her suit in April 2016 on behalf of herself and anyone else who bought this particular box set. She named MGM Studios, Twentieth-Century Fox Home Entertainment, MGM Holdings, and Twenty-First Century Fox as defendants. Johnson accused the companies of violating Washington’s Consumer Protection Act. According to The News Tribune, she also claimed the defendants breached an “implied warranty” based on the description of the product. The action demands unspecified actual and punitive damages.

The box set in question. (Credit: Court papers via The Hollywood Reporter)

When the suit was brought in April, MGM issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying, “The James Bond DVD and Blu-ray collections, which clearly list the included films, have been enjoyed by millions of satisfied consumers around the world. We intend to vigorously defend against these frivolous claims.”

Part of that defense centered around the word “all.” The defendants tried to have the suit tossed, explaining that “all” is subject to interpretation and qualifies more as advertising “puffery.” Johnson’s legal team pushed back against that argument. “No reasonable person, unless a James Bond expert, would understand that ‘all’ does not mean all, and ‘every’ only means certain films,” they wrote.

Judge Ricardo S. Martinez sided with Johnson’s lawyers on this claim, writing, “A jury must determine whether a reasonable person would expect Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again to be included in a complete set of James Bond films.” He added, “From the Defendants’ perspective, this claim will have to Die Another Day.”

Martinez did not let all of Johnson’s claims stand. He granted a motion to dismiss MGM Holdings and 21st Century Fox from the suit, and he also tossed the “implied warranty” allegation.

“Plaintiff may amend her claim once if she discovers sufficient facts to establish privity; thus, this claim may Only Live Twice,” he wrote.

The 1967 version of Casino Royale was a spoof of the Bond films, starring Peter Sellers, Orson Welles, and Woody Allen. Never Say Never Again was the second adaptation of Ian Fleming’s Bond novel Thunderball and marked the return of Sean Connery to the role of 007 after a 12-year absence. Neither film was originally produced by MGM, although MGM now owns them both.