Daniel Craig as James Bond in "Skyfall." (Francois Duhamel / Columbia…)
MGM Studios plans to send James Bond on his next mission sooner than later, announcing Wednesday that it hopes to have the next installment of the popular spy series in theaters within the next three years.
MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Gary Barber, in a conference call with investors, said the studio is developing the screenplay for the next Bond film, the 24th entry in the 50-year-old franchise.
“We look forward to announcing a director soon,” Barber said. “We are really thrilled with where we have taken this franchise.”
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Sam Mendes, director of the most recent Bond film, 2012's "Skyfall," announced earlier this month that he passed on an offer from series producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to return as director.
Star Daniel Craig is signed for two more films as the British secret agent.
Getting the wheels turning on the next movie is understandable given the commercial and critical success of "Skyfall." The film grossed $1.1 billion worldwide and earned outstanding reviews as well as Oscar wins for sound editing and Adele's original title song.
Through the series' long history, a two-year gap between movies has been the norm. "Skyfall" arrived four years after the previous Bond film, "Quantum of Solace," with MGM's financial problems contributing to the lengthy delay.
Privately-held MGM jointly produced "Skyfall" with Columbia Pictures, Sony Corp's movie studio arm.
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