Shaken MGM stirred by bank­ruptcy bailout

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Reel News -

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

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