As expected, MGM has closed a worldwide distribution deal with Sony (which released Bond films Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace) for Sam Mendes' Bond 23, starring Daniel Craig as 007. Sony will also co-finance the film.
Making the deal for streamlined MGM, fresh out of bankruptcy, were new co-chairmen and CEOs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, who pacted with Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal. Sony will release Bond 23 on November 9, 2012 around the world, except for select territories where MGM will oversee the release. The two companies expect to do the same for Bond 24.
MGM had enough leverage with this deal--Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace grossed $599 million and $577 million worldwide, respectively-- to also add Sony co-financing for other, future films over a five-year term.
In recent years the two studios also collaborated on 21, Yours, Mine and Ours, The Pink Panther and Kevin James' upcoming comedy Zookeeper.
Happy to be back in the Bond business after waiting for MGM to emerge from bankruptcy is UK-based EON Productions, owned by the Broccoli/Wilson family, who own the James Bond copyright and merchandising through their US affiliate Danjaq. Bond is the longest-running franchise ever, with twenty-two films produced since 1962. Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli took over the franchise from Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli in 1995.