Shaken MGM stirred by bankruptcy bailout
Bond is Back. It seems as if the financial problems that have been dragging the 007 franchise down have been somewhat alleviated.
Over the past few years MGM, the studio behind the series, has been slowly, painfully drifting towards bankruptcy. Following a cash infusion of $500 million, the panhandling studio and its partners have finally announced that the 23rd movie is to start shooting later this year. Daniel Craig is back behind the Walther PK and, as long anticipated, Sam Mendes will direct.
The timing is crucial. Next year the Bond series, which began with Dr No, will celebrate its 50th anniversary. It would have been a major embarrassment if MGM had failed to deliver a fresh 007 picture for the golden jubilee.
The announcement arrived just three weeks after MGM completed its restructuring as part of a carefully choreographed bankruptcy. Though the studio will be a shadow of the great beast that gave us Ben Hur and The Wizard of Oz, it does still have a few surefire money-makers on its books.
For example, though it will be distributed through the buoyant Warner Bros in this territory, Peter Jackson’s two-part adaptation of The Hobbit originates in Metro’s stable. Last week it was reported that Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Elijah Wood will all appear in the films. Hang on. Elijah Wood? Frodo wasn’t in Tolkien’s novel, was he?
The real deal: Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr No (1962). The series will continue