Sony strikes deal with MGM for next two James Bond films

Co-financing deal gives Sony two more dates with the superspy

<p>Daniel Craig will return as James Bond as least two more times for Sony and MGM, thanks to the deal that was announced today.</p>

Daniel Craig will return as James Bond as least two more times for Sony and MGM, thanks to the deal that was announced today.

Credit: Sony Pictures

It is, to say the least, good news to hear that Sony and MGM have worked out a deal for not one but two new James Bond movies.

There's been speculation about this possibility before now, but the confirmation today should be enough to make James Bond fans around the world relax now.  I have to say I was genuinely upset at the idea that we might not see more of this new Daniel Craig version of the character.  I know plenty of people who dislike this approach to the franchise, but I figure we've had decades of smarmy jokey Roger Moore style Bond films, and it's nice to finally have a Bond that makes me feel like someone actually read an Ian Fleming novel at some point.

I like the story that has been developing over the course of the Craig films so far.  "Casino Royale" was a very strong introduction, and now, I can hope that on November 9, 2012, I'll be seeing the next chapter in that story.  We've been building towards some answers regarding whatever the organization is that has been pulling the strings in the first film and in "Quantum Of Solace," and it feels like MGM and Sony, knowing they're making "Bond 23" and "Bond 24" together, can wrap that story up if they want to now.

The big picture relevance of today's press release is that Sony and MGM are now looking at a five year deal where they will be co-financing and releasing films together.

Here's the full press release:

Sony Pictures Entertainment will remain in the James Bond business after reaching an agreement with MGM to co-finance and theatrically market and distribute Bond 23 worldwide, it was announced today by MGM Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum and Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal.  Sony will release the next film in this iconic franchise on November 9, 2012 throughout the world except for select International territories, where MGM will directly oversee distribution.
 
Sony Pictures and MGM look forward to Sony Pictures co-financing and distributing Bond 24 on a similar basis.
 
Additionally, MGM and Sony Pictures have agreed to explore co-financing opportunities on future motion pictures produced by each of the respective studios for the next five years.
 
The two studios have collaborated directly and indirectly in recent years on numerous films, including Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, 21, Yours, Mine and Ours, The Pink Panther, and the forthcoming Kevin James comedy Zookeeper.
 
The announcement of the agreement to distribute Bond 23 adds another high-profile title to Sony’s 2012 slate, which also includes Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man, as well as I Hate You, Dad, starring Adam Sandler, Here Comes the Boom, starring Kevin James, 21 Jump Street, Resident Evil 5 and Total Recall.
 
“Sony Pictures is the ideal studio partner for us as MGM re-enters the filmmaking business. We have longstanding relationships with Michael and Amy and look forward to what promises to be a prosperous future together,” said Barber and Birnbaum.
 
“In addition to working together on Bond, this deal expands our relationship with MGM as we explore co-financing opportunities on other high-profile projects,” Lynton said. “Gary and Roger are incredibly thoughtful and experienced leaders who are outstanding creative executives and respected moviemakers. While we are excited to be back in the Bond business, we also look forward to future collaborations and I am confident that this agreement will be long-term, lucrative, and beneficial to both studios.”
 
“After successfully working on the re-launch of the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, we could not be more proud or privileged to continue our association with Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Daniel Craig, and the talented teams at EON and MGM,” said Pascal.
 
When Sony released Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, the films had record-high grosses for the Bond franchise, with Casino Royale taking in $599 million in worldwide ticket sales and Quantum of Solace generating $577 million.

 
We know that Sam Mendes is onboard to direct "Bond 23," and with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade working with John Logan on the script, that's a pretty exciting package.  Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes have both been rumored as playing parts in the film, but there have been no villain announcements yet.  I'm just thrilled to see that there is real momentum now, and that release of November next year gives them plenty of time to make a great new chapter in one of the longest-running franchises imaginable in film.

Fingers crossed.

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