EON Productions announced Monday that the latest James Bond installment, known as "Bond 23," will be put on hold.
The news comes in the face of uncertainty at Bond studio MGM which has been seeking a buyer or a possible restructuring. "We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of 'Bond 23,'" said producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.
A person close to MGM told The Los Angeles Times, "It was not unexpected given all the uncertainty and the ongoing process."
Peter Morgan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade were previously announced as writing the script for “Bond 23.” Although no director has been formally attached, Sam Mendes has been repeatedly cited as the likely eventual helmer.
Daniel Craig last fall said the film would start shooting late this year, but MGM and EON never confirmed.
Still, as The Hollywood Reporter notes, nobody doubts there will be a next Bond film, but current circumstances were not ideal for a tidy development of the project. Some have suggested MGM might sell off rights to co-produce Bond pictures in order to raise capital.
Deadline, meanwhile, opines that Wilson and Broccoli may have the right to take Bond elsewhere and "would love to move Bond to a fully functioning studio."
Deadline adds that the duo have been very careful not to do anything on "Bond 23," which ties the movie further to MGM: i.e., only hiring Mendes as a consultant rather than signing him as director which would have triggered a first payment from the studio.