Dossiers issued in October, 2010

MGM/Spyglass deal struck – Industry news debates who will distribute James Bond 23

The Big Cat has announced that a creditor vote has lead to the acceptance of the Spyglass plan. Under the scheme MGM will become a “working studio” and no longer a distributor of films.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (‘MGM’) today announced that the secured lenders voting in the Company’s solicitation process have overwhelmingly approved its proposed plan of reorganization (‘Plan’). MGM will now move expeditiously to implement that Plan, which will dramatically reduce its debt load and put the Company in a strong position to execute its business strategy. MGM is appreciative of the lenders’ support.

This leaves sources such as industry blog Deadline debating who will become the distributor of the new James Bond movie.

Sony Pictures did so for Daniel Craig’s previous two James Bond outings – Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace – but Mike Fleming at Deadline suggests they will not retain the honor for James Bond 23.

Warner brothers and Fox are also in contention but Fleming (no relation to James Bond’s creator as far as we can tell) predicts the honor will go to Paramount because of a “close relationship” between Paramount and Spyglass.

Once the restructuring process commences there is real hope on the horizon for 007.

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Writer Peter Morgan says the momentum has gone on Bond 23

Following up on the brief comment made to Coming Soon this week, screenwriter Peter Morgan has gone into detail about his Bond 23 ideas and his work on the new James Bond movie script.

Speaking to Indie Wire, in a series of video interviews, Morgan says that he first got involved in the 007 franchise back in 2008 when he had a meet with the film’s producers.

He had an idea to share with EON Productions and the crew took the acclaimed screenwriter up on the chance to pen an outline (“treatment”) for the 23rd James Bond movie.

James Bond website MI6 has transcribed the pertinent parts of this interview in which Peter Morgan says:

I wrote the treatment, and it remains to be seen what they do! I suspect if they start again, they’ll start entirely again [from scratch]. I think there was momentum behind my idea for the moment, and I suspect that moment’s probably gone.

Morgan also spoke candidly about the future of James Bond at the movies – expressing the feeling that the franchise is running on empty.

I do think that the absence of social reality in the Bond films [is a problem] – and I do hope they manage to get that in a script – that you can believe in him and he’s not just a man in a dinner jacket. He’s a creature of the Cold War. I personally struggle to believe that a British secret agent is still saving the world.

Lastly the Frost/Nixon screenwriter put his weight and faith behind the director, Sam Mendes, who is still lined up to direct the film once the MGM drama draws to a close.

I’m very encouraged if Sam Mendes [directs the film], because I’m sure he wouldn’t put his name to a load of nonsense. He’s smart and he’s British and he would care deeply about the franchise. He’s got his feet on the ground and understands what’s going on in the world.

It seems that at this stage, EON are awaiting a resolution in MGM’s financial situation before appointing a new screenwriter.

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Writer Peter Morgan says no James Bond 23 draft was ever completed

The acclaimed screenwriter Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) spoke to Coming Soon about his work on his newest film – the Clint Eastwood directed Hereafter.

Whilst speaking with Morgan, the team over at Coming Soon could not resist dropping in a Bond 23 question.

Fans will recall that Morgan spent a few months in the second half of 2009 working on a script for the now-delayed James Bond 23 and told reporters in Austria (his new family home) that it would be a shocking story.

Now the only shock for fans is that even less work on the draft was done than anticipated.

The screenwriter revealed that he did not even turn in a draft of the new 007 movie script:

I hadn’t gotten that far. I was working on an outline when they said, “We’re going to have to stop this process now,” and when it came to the point where I was going to commit to doing the Freddie Mercury film, I sort of discussed with my reps that it would probably take me out of all consideration and that’s what’s happened, and I wish them the best.

Now attached to several other projects, it looks like the respected screenwriter will not be returning to the James Bond family any time soon.

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Lionsgate make a last-ditch effort to parter with a bankrupt MGM

According to the James Bond website mi6-hq.com the Lionsgate studios made a public plea to James Bond’s studio to consider working with Lionsgate over Spyglass.

Lionsgate, the leading next generation studio, today emphasized the value creation potential of its proposed merger combination with Metro−Goldwyn−Mayer Studios Inc. The Company filed an Amendment to Schedule 14D-9 with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday disclosing that it sent an October 11 proposal to MGM regarding a potential business combination between the two companies. Under the terms of the proposal, the combined company would be owned by shareholders of Lionsgate and creditors of MGM.

“This is a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to create a dynamic, forward-looking studio that unlocks tremendous potential value for Lionsgate’s shareholders and MGM’s various stakeholders,” said Lionsgate Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer and Vice Chairman Michael Burns. “A Lionsgate merger with MGM is a natural fit that would bring together two of the most powerful libraries in the world, create significant cost savings, consolidate our mutual global channel operations and generate significant incremental revenue and cash flow. It would create a combined entity with enough scale to leverage all of our distribution platforms worldwide.”

Lionsgate noted that it believes that its three largest shareholders, Carl Icahn, MHR Fund Management and Capital Research Global Investors, support the merger proposal.

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Mendes still excited about Bond 23 & EON Productions confident & supportive of MGM

The movies department of the IGN website spoke to Mr. David Wilson – son of 007 producer Michael Wilson – who has made a brief statement about the status of Bond 23.

EON Productions admits director Sam Mendes (American Beauty) is “hot” and “very excited to do this film”. The Bond producers are “patient and optimistic”. The EON team are estimating shooting will take place next year (2011).

“The script’s been in development for some time. We often start the scripts about a year before pre-production has begun. So the script has been in development but it’s been halted for the time being”

With regards to their commitment to the wobbly MGM Studio, Mr. Wilson says: “We support [MGM] – we’ve had a long relationship for a long time and it’s really important for us to get going again. They just have to sort out their financial issues.”

Meanwhile, MGM has begun a process establishing shareholder votes for a of pre-packaged plan of reorganization.

The plan provides for MGM’s secured lenders to exchange more than $4 billion in outstanding debt.

The deadline for the Company’s secured lenders to vote on the Plan is October 22, 2010.

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