Recent news out of Hollywood is somewhat disturbing: MGM Studios, the guys who have the rights to the James Bond franchise, and a 50% stake in the upcoming Hobbit films, have cancelled production on the next Bond film, which was to be the 23rd instalment. Due to MGM’s financial difficulty, they can’t afford to make another Bond movie right now. So what does this mean for The Hobbit movies? Are they, too, due to be consigned to the almost-ran scrapheap of unrealised movie dreams? Unlikely, although perhaps they may have to be put on hold for a while, until things are sorted out.
The nutshell version of the back-story is this: MGM are currently in administration (read: nearly bankrupt) and the administrators are trying like hell to sell the studio to pay off the debts. The main problem with all this is that they want more money than anybody is prepared to pay. Which leaves any and all projects currently funded, or co-funded, by MGM, up in the air. So, for both Bond and The Hobbit to move forward with any certainty, somebody rich is going to have to shell out some serious coin for the deal to take place. Fanboy consensus around the web indicates that perhaps the administrators are being a tad greedy in what they’re asking for, perhaps they should try selling the studio at a realistic price (hell, Time-Warner owns half of everything on planet Earth, so why not MGM?) and get this whole messy situation sorted out. Reading between the lines, I tend to think the snouts in the trough are keeping this from becoming easier, instead trying to play hard-ball and feather their own nests. Which isn’t against the law, but it is holding up production on The Hobbit.
Word has surfaced that the internet new services (and by default, us) may have been a bit premature to write off the James Bond franchise (as above), as this report from First Showing states. The new Bond 23 film is “delayed”, rather than “cancelled”, with director Sam Mendes (yes, American Beauty‘s Sam Mendes) and star Daniel Craig stating that they would wait for the MGM troubles to be sorted out.
Look, this whole MGM thing is getting out of hand. Won’t somebody please make a decision and sort it out?