While it was recently suggested that the upcoming merger between MGM and Spyglass Entertainment could bring iconic spy James Bond back to the big screen by 2012, updated reports are now asserting that the bold prediction may be slightly premature.
EW notes that continued issues with financing and distribution, coupled with star Daniel Craig's burgeoning schedule -- he has a three-picture deal for David Fincher's adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy -- and the availability of touted helmer Sam Mendes, may actually mean 2014 could be a more realistic release date for the next installment of the Peter Morgan-scripted franchise, known for now as 'Bond 23.'
MGM was apparently planning a major comeback with the new 'Bond' and the first installment of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" to hit in November and December of 2012, after its financial woes were resolved. The wheels are already in motion for Jackson's film with $125 million to be spent on the project in the next 15 weeks and a total financial commitment of up to $275 million predicted however, on the 'Bond' front, the company -- who only owns 50% of the project -- is still only in the market for "an equal partner [who would be] paying all of the production costs."
Mendes is probably not locked into helm either after the original indefinite delay announced by EON Productions but it's presumed he'll return to the position sometime after his planned series of four Shakespeare productions for the BBC. Another potential delay? The distribution rights previously held by Sony will be freed after the upcoming merger, requiring more attention from the parent company.
A November 2012 release is not out of question we suppose and would definitely have the folks at MGM jumping for joy -- after all, the ambitious plans would likely push the company straight back into the kind of business it was dealing before bankruptcy. But EW's argument is a strong one, and at this stage, they certainly face an uphill battle with the mergers, schedules and production planning. It's not even known if the Broccoli family -- the notoriously controlling Bond producers -- have even approved Peter Morgan's script, rumored to be set in Afghanistan. Our guess is Morgan hasn't put revision pen to paper -- or typing to Word file -- in ages simply because the project's essentially been in limbo for some time and all the creatives are focusing their energies elsewhere at the moment.