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New James Bond movie coming to theaters next year

Steven Zeitchik
Los Angeles Times (MCT)

LOS ANGELES — James Bond fans holding their breath about the fate of the superspy franchise can exhale a little. MGM and Sony have announced a deal under which the companies will co-finance and release the next two Bond pictures.

After numerous false starts, the deal will return Daniel Craig to the screen as the suave if tortured hero on Nov. 9, 2012. (Sam Mendes will direct the new picture, which could also star Javier Bardem in the villain role.) The two companies will share financing costs, and Sony will release the movie in all but a few select worldwide territories; MGM will release the film in the remaining territories.

A second film, known informally as Bond 24, will also fall under the new deal. Details of that are still a ways off, though the deal announced Wednesday offers hope that there will be fewer snags and delays than have afflicted Bond 23. MGM financial issues and other obstacles have led to a long gap between films; there has been no new Bond movie since "Quantum of Solace" was released in 2008.

With the new deal, there is, however, an embarrassment-of-riches question. Sony is also behind "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" adaptation, which also stars Craig. If that movie, directed by David Fincher, takes off, a franchise could be in the offing with Stieg Larsson's other Millennium Trilogy tomes. That would require that Craig, Sony and MGM choose between prioritizing Bond 24 and the second film in the Larsson trilogy.

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