MGM Problems Leave Bond Franchise Shaken

James Bond has met his toughest foe to date -- money problems.

MGM's studios financial woes have forced 007 to holster his sidearms "indefinitely," the studio announced on Monday. The franchise is on hold until further notice.

"Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development on BOND 23 indefinitely," producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a joint statement to the BBC. "We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of BOND 23."

This is sad news indeed for the 23rd Bond which will bring the barely-bottled rage of Daniel Craig back to the screen. Previously it was due as soon as 2011. The added bonus of Sam Mendes supposedly directing was particularly alluring.

Craig is keeping his cool, as you might expect. The "Casino Royale" star said: "I have every confidence in Barbara and Michael's decision and look forward to production resuming as quickly as possible."

And no doubt if MGM doesn't get its act together, another studio will be happy to take the troublesome agent.  "Casino Royale" was the most successful installment in the franchise's 48-year history, taking $594 million at the global box office.

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