James Bond Film Delayed `Indefinitely' by MGM Auction

A new James Bond movie was delayed indefinitely because of uncertainty surrounding the proposed sale of distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

The producers suspended development of the movie, previously scheduled for release by 2012, London-based Eon Productions said today in a statement. Daniel Craig was scheduled to play the suave British agent for the third time.

Work on the film, the 23rd in the series, was halted because of “the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio,” producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson said.

Craig’s spokeswoman, Robin Baum, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail message seeking comment.

MGM put itself up for sale and hired turnaround specialist Stephen Cooper last year after falling behind on $3.7 billion in debt. The studio is considering offers including a bid from Time Warner Inc. and restructuring proposals by Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media LLC and billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, people with knowledge of the auction have said.

Craig’s first Bond film, the 2006 release “Casino Royale,” generated $594 million in worldwide ticket sales, according to Box Office Mojo, a researcher based in Sherman Oaks, California. “Quantum of Solace,” released in 2008, had theatrical sales of $586 million.

Eon is developing two films with Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures Entertainment, a remake of the children’s film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and the espionage thriller “Remote Control,” according to a statement issued by Sony and Eon last year.

MGM spokeswoman Susie Arons didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

EON Productions/Danjaq LLC is owned by the Broccoli family and has produced James Bond films since 1962.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net.

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