MGM eye November 2012 release for Bond 23, with
successive 007 adventures to follow every two years...
Bond 23 To Open November 2012
5th November 2010
As MGM's pre-packaged bankruptcy plan heads
for final approval by the courts, the studio eyes a November
2012 release of the 23rd James
Bond movie (with a partner funding
production) and a self-sufficient operation releasing 007 adventures
every two years thereafter.
After voting for their pre-packaged bankruptcy
plan on Friday 29th October, MGM filed Chapter 11 paperwork at
a Manhattan federal court on November 3rd after rejecting a takeover
bid by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp (click here to read the
official document). The creditors overwhelmingly supported the
plan to extinguish about $4 billion of debt in return for equity
in the reborn studio and install managers Gary Barber and Roger
Birnbaum from Spyglass Entertainment Group to helm the company
of which they will own 1%. The plan also wipes out the equity
the $5 billion acquisition of the studio in 2005 by a consortium
led by Sony Corp.
“By sharply reducing MGM’s debt load and providing
access to new capital, the proposed plan of reorganization achieves
these goals” of improving the company’s prospects,
said Co-Chief Executive Officer Stephen Cooper.
Carl Icahn, who owns 18% of MGM's debt, separately mounted a
hostile takeover of Lions Gate, was sued by the company on October
29th for allegedly "plotting" a merger of Lions Gate
with MGM that would boost the value of his holdings in the two
companies. He denied the allegations. Icahn said in a statement
he reached an agreement with MGM to support its prepackaged bankruptcy.
He will have the right to elect a director to MGM’s board
after the bankruptcy. "I am pleased that we were able to
obtain an agreement to make changes to the MGM prepackaged plan
that allows me to support it and enables the company to avoid
a potentially costly and disruptive bankruptcy process," he
At a hearing on Thursday 4th November in federal bankruptcy
court in Manhattan, Judge Stuart Bernstein set December 2nd as
the date for MGM to seek final approval of its reorganization
plan. The studio said it expects to raise approximately $500
million in financing to fund operations, including production
of a new slate of films and television series.
MGM plans to spend as much as $125 million on operations in
the next 15 weeks. MGM said it has already spent $20 million
to fund production of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel, “The
Hobbit,” in a co-production deal with Time Warner Inc.’s
New Line Cinema, and may need to spend more.
New James Bond films may be released every second year starting
in November 2012, MGM said. It aims to own 50 percent of Bond
23, due out that year, with an equal partner paying all of the
production costs, it said. Later 007 adventures would be wholly
owned and funded by MGM, the company said.
Two potential suitors for Bond 23 financing
and distribution are Paramount and Sony. Spyglass chiefs Gary
Barber and Roger
Birnbaum, who will be taking charge of production at MGM as part
of the restructuring deal, are close to Paramount who co-funded
the smash-hit "Star Trek" reboot. Sony distributed
the last two James Bond outings under the agreement reached when
the company was part of the consortium that took
over MGM in 2005. Sony have made it
public that they would love to be involved again, but it looks
like a bidding war between rival distributors will be taking
place before Bond 23 is officially green-lit.
2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the
EON Productions series of James Bond films. Assuming Daniel Craig honours his contract for a
third film, it would also be the longest gap between Bond
movies without a change in the lead role.
With both the "Batman" and "Spider-Man" franchises
duking it out at the 2012 summer box-office, there is little
chance of Bond 23 being pulled forward. The release schedule
around the holiday season in 2012 is light, with the only
two major releases ("Monsters, Inc. 2" and "The
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II") penciled in
for November 2012.
Accepts Sony Buyout Deal (2004)
Past Attempts To Secure 007 (2004)