MGM have set a tentative release date of November
17th 2006 for the 21st James Bond film Casino Royale...
Casino Royale Release Date Announced
29th March 2005
"Casino Royale", the 21st James Bond film, has been given a tentative
release date of November 17th 2006 by MGM.
The news broke in an article by trade paper The
Hollywood Reporter on the current state of the Sony
lead consortium takeover of MGM.
The piece said, "While development at MGM has slowed considerably
in recent months, a handful of productions -- all well into
preproduction -- are moving ahead as planned. At the top
of the list is the next installment of the James Bond franchise,
"Casino Royale," which Martin Campbell is set to direct
but has not been cast, though it is tentatively set for
release Nov. 17, 2006."
Dame Judi Dench, who has played M in the last four 007
last month that she expects filming for "Casino Royale"
to start in January or February 2006.
No casting decisions may have been officially finalised,
but casting agents working for the production have been
active in Los Angeles in the past couple of months and have
met with several actors, including the Bollywood legend
Gulshan Grover who, although not officially offered a part
yet, says he had
several meetings with the "Casino Royale" casting agents
Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins.
The Lion Roars On
The European Commission could give its approval for a consortium
headed by Sony Corp. of America to take over the 80-year-old
MGM Inc. in a merger valued at $4.8 billion, as early as
Because the merger involves more than just a Sony takeover
of MGM -- Sony's partners in the consortium include Providence
Equity Partners, Texas Pacific Group, Comcast Corp. and
DLJ Merchant Banking Partners -- Sony can't move unilaterally,
and, even after the merger, MGM will continue to exist as
a private company controlled by Sony and its partners.
In reality, as far as MGM's development and production
schedule goes, the expectation is that Sony will be calling
the shots, however.
According to sources at MGM, the consortium is legally
obligated to take over MGM's production deals. Presumably,
Danjaq, producers of the Bond franchise, also would find
a secure home at Sony, said the report.
As for the future of MGM staff, of the 1,400 employees, only
about 250 are expected to be retained, according the the report,
and most of them will be involved with the operations of the 4,000-title
library, which includes recent MGM titles as well as those belonging
to United Artists. MGM vice chairman and chief operating officer
Chris McGurk, who has been involved with past Bond productions
and relations with Eon Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara
Broccoli have allegedly been strained at times, will leave MGM
with a payout of $5.75 million once the merger is completed.
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