As MGM submitted their bankruptcy plans in advance of a takeover by Spyglass Entertainment, a prospective release date of November 2012 was announced for the next James Bond film, as yet untitled, along with intentions to create new entries in the series every subsequent two years. When Pierce Brosnan took over the role in 1995, the series was moved from its then-traditional summer release date to mid-November, where every film apart from Tomorrow Never Dies (a month late in December 1997) has released since, making it a virtual certainty that Daniel Craig’s third outing will follow suit. MGM will most likely partner with Paramount or Sony to help with financing and distribution, with their share of the investment in the film coming from $500m they intend to put towards funding a new slate of films, including Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit.[Bloomberg, via MI6]
Although these plans are speculative and part of the financial reorganisation the studio is submitting to the courts for final approval, MGM would be foolish to miss their announced date: 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary since Dr. No kicked off the series in 1962. Releasing any later could potentially risk driving away star Daniel Craig, who last played Bond in 2008’s Quantum of Solace (excluding videogame work, with GoldenEye 007 and Blood Stone having a well-timed release on consoles in Europe today). The series has precedents in losing stars during the lengthier delays between films: the previous last four year wait between releases saw Craig take over from Pierce Brosnan after the poorly received Die Another Day, which marked the series’ fortieth anniversary with a low point arguably only saved from the bottom of the Bond pile by Roger Moore’s diabolical swansong A View To A Kill, while the six years between Licence To Kill (1989) and GoldenEye (1995) proved too long for Timothy Dalton, who annulled his three-film contract and was eventually succeeded by Brosnan.
In an interview with IGN last month, series producer Michael G. Wilson affirmed his hope that production on the twenty-third entry in the series would start up again next year, stating that director Sam Mendes was still attached (having reportedly turned down a possible replacement projects in The Hunger Games trilogy according to industry blog Deadline), although prospective writer Peter Morgan confirmed in a video interview with Indiewire that he had moved on, having submitted only a treatment before MGM’s financial woes halted work on the film.
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News that Bond is up and running again is inevitably followed rumours, the first being that the new film will be partially set in Israel according to Ynetnews. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague recently visited the country to thrash out a deal that would see British productions receive financial incentives for shooting in the Jewish state and increasing the profile of Israeli cinema, with Bond naturally surfacing in speculation as to which would be the first big budget production to take advantage of the agreement.