"Oh, James."  Or, should that be "Oh, Barbara"?  Showing that James Bond franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson have ways of letting their displeasure be heard, the duo released a statement on Monday announcing production had been "suspended" on the upcoming and untitled "James Bond 23." And no, that's not good news for moviegoers or financially beleaguered MGM.

The lion's recent auction process has hardly been a success and the company, which has the rights to produce and distribute the 007 movies with Eon productions (Broccoli and Wilson), is looking at a number of scenarios including selling off assets, accepting an extremely low bid from Time Warner or last minute funding from Relativity Media.  Eon's dramatic press release was certainly a shot across the bow to the MGM's current investors that they aren't thrilled with the results to date.  Whether that means they don't have faith in MGM's Mary Parent or the rest of her executive team is unclear, but Sony Pictures (which distributed the last two Bond blockbusters) and Fox (which handle the home entertainment releases) are salivating at the opportunity to secure the spy franchise rights. Needless to say, having your "partners" who control your most valuable asset sabre rattling in public certainly can't be good for morale at MGM's Century City headquarters. 

All of Hollywood is buzzing like vultures about Eon's move and that's more than enough to skyrocket the "James Bond" franchise to No. 1 on this week's movie power rankings. As for the rest, volcanoes, pickups, "Buffy" and comebacks all worked their way into the hit list.

Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

1. "James Bond 23" (not ranked)
You know who's really glad he took that "Cowboys and Aliens" paycheck?  Daniel Craig.

2. "Iron Man 2" (last week No. 4)

A volcano moves the world premiere from London to LA and early polling finds the sequel could have the biggest opening weekend in history. 

3. "Kick-Ass" (last week No. 6)
Don't call it a comeback! The Matthew Vaughn superhero flick hit no. 1, but will it make enough to warrant a sequel? Pray for strong overseas grosses true believers.

4. "The Avengers" (not ranked)
Joss Whedon new directing gig probably got him over "Dollhouse's" cancellation real quick.  Just a guess.

5. Miramax (last week No. 13)
It really looks like Harvey and Bob Weinstein are gonna reclaim their baby. Now, if they can only secure some production financing that would seal their comeback.

6. "How To Train Your Dragon" (last week No. 8)
It may have really come in the second slot this past weekend, but another small drop and a new cume of $158 million domestic (so far) has Jeffrey Katzenberg breathing much, much easier these days.

7. Cannes Film Festival (not ranked)
You know how boring this year's slate was to anyone this side of the Atlantic?  Less than 12 hours later everyone forgot the announcement actually happened. Yikes.

8. "Avatar" (not ranked)
Looking to break more records with a no-frills DVD and Blu-ray release on Earth Day this Thursday.

9. "Twilight Saga" (last week no. 1)

"Eclipse" soundtrack, reshoots that are really just pickups and fans already in line for the premiere? Just another crazy week in "Twilight" world.

10. "The Green Hornet" (not ranked)
Small website runs anonymous quotes that Sony Pictures doesn't like what they've seen and the studio goes in hyper-drive spin mode denying the report. It only illustrates that until a trailer appears no one really has a clue how this Seth Green/Michel Gondry collaboration will turn out.

11. "Robin Hood" (not ranked)
Word is it's polling overall and very well with women.  Looks like Uni finally found some TV spots that worked.

12. "Sex and the City 2" (not ranked)
Already selling tickets at a brisk pace a little under six weeks out.  And some pundits think it will make less than the first?  Uh, no.

13. "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (last week no. 9)

Why does it suddenly feel that after a year of anticipation this horror rebook it going to hit big and disappear like that?  We must be having flashbacks to "Friday the 13th."

14. "Inception" (last week no. 10)
The more it screens the more buzz grows about the "mind [expletive]" around town.

15. "Letters to Juliet" (not ranked)
First surprise hit of the summer?  Some certainly think so...


Dropping like a rock...

*"The Runaways"
Sorry, gotta say it.  After a $3 million gross, this campaign was an utter disaster.

*"Death at a Funeral"
Perhaps they should have put a "Tyler Perry Presents" in front of the title? Or, maybe Chris Rock should have just directed it himself.

Previous Rankings:

Monday, April 12

Tuesday, April 6

Tuesday, March 30

What do you think of this week's rankings?  Share your thoughts below.