MGM Files For Bankruptcy, Plans To Have Bond 23 In Theaters By November 2012

After rejecting Lionsgate’s takeover bid, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Manhattan federal court today. According to Bloomberg (via The Playlist), close to $4 billion of debt will be extinguished.

Over the next four months, MGM plans to spend as much as $125 million on operations. A fraction of that total amount has already been spent to fund The Hobbit, a joint production between MGM and New Line Cinema. Still, MGM’s total obligations on this massive fantasy project is upwards to $275 million. So the studio is looking for an ancillary company to help meet those obligations.

Other developments to come from MGM’s filing for bankruptcy is that they tend to release a new James Bond film every second year beginning November 2012, one month prior to the release of The Hobbit. For this to happen, the studio needs assistance from another partner to fund the film. MGM would still retain the rights to the James Bond franchise, however.

While it sounds like a worthwhile idea on paper, I’ll believe it when I see it. In the ’80s, a new James Bond film arrived like clockwork. Five movies were released that decade. Well, six if you count Never Say Never Again, a film that was developed outside of Broccoli’s EON Productions. But in the 1990s there was a six-year gap between Timothy Dalton’s last Bond appearance (License to Kill, 1989) and Pierce Brosnan’s debut as Bond (Goldeneye, 1995). Then the films arrived like clockwork again every two years (most of the time). The clock would then stop in 2002 and give us another long gap, four years, in between Bond adventures. This time we would see Daniel Craig take over for Pierce Brosnan in 2006’s Casino Royale.

If the 2012 release date is realized, the stretch between Quantum of Solace and Bond 23 would be the same amount of time as the stretch between Die Another Day and Casino Royale.

It will be interesting to see if both star Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes are still involved with Bond 23 once production commences. With the delay in getting another James Bond off the ground, Craig has taken on roles in Cowboys & Aliens (opening Summer 2011) and the American adaptations of Steig Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. (The first installment, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens December 2011.)

If MGM has any shot of making a splash again, and make it fast, Bond 23 needs to happen. At the very least it would behoove the studio to have a one-two punch in the final quarter of 2012.

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Source: The Playlist

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