James Bond movie delayed due to studio auction

Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:29pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The next James Bond movie will be delayed indefinitely due to "uncertainty" from the still unfinished auction of MGM, the movie studio behind the films, producers said on Monday.

The as yet untitled movie, which will be the 23rd in the series about the British spy, had been due for release in 2011 or 2012.

James Bond is MGM's most lucrative franchise. The character known as 007 is currently played by Daniel Craig, and the next installment would be the British actor's third time in the role.

But Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the producers of the Bond movies, said in a joint statement, "Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23 indefinitely."

The two producers said they do not know when development of the film will resume and when it will be released in theaters.

MGM last year began exploring a potential sale last year.

The 22 James Bond movies have sold $1.6 billion in box office tickets in the U.S. and Canada, putting the series at No. 3 on the list of most successful film franchises, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

The last film in the series, 2008's "Quantum of Solace," racked up a global box office of $586 million, and before that the 2006 movie "Casino Royale" made $594 million and introduced Craig as the new Bond.

Sam Mendes, a director best known for making psychological dramas such as "American Beauty" and "Revolutionary Road," was expected to direct the next James Bond movie.

(Editing by Jill Serjeant)