HMSS revised handicapping of spy movie projects

Back in mid-April, we did some handicapping on some spy movie projects in various stages of development.

Less than three months have passed and there have been some developments, some firm, some murky. So here’s a revised odds board.

Bond 23: This project is the latest in the news, though that would have to fall under the murky category. The Daily Mirror in the U.K. said Bond 23 had been “canned” because of MGM’s financial problems.

The paper cited a “glum insider” it didn’t identify and quoted a statement from Eon Productions that didn’t confirm but didn’t really deny it, either. Media reports about James Bond movies have a mixed record. Nearly 30 years ago, for example, there were reports that Eon was considering James Brolin to play 007 in Octopussy. In 1994, Brolin’s screen tests were shown at a 007 fan convention in Los Angeles, showing they were right even though Roger Moore ended up coming back for Octopussy.

It would be nice if we knew something, anything about the “glum insider.” Does he/she have direct knowledge? In theory, it could be anyone from Eon boss people Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, down to a grip. Still, even if you discount the Daily Mirror report, MGM hasn’t been making much progress on the financial front. Bottom line: the news isn’t good, the question is exactly how bad it is.

ORIGINAL ODDS: 4-1
FIRST REVISED ODDS (after Eon said Bond 23 was being delayed indefinitely): 10-1
REVISED ODDS (discounting Daily Mirror but noting lack of MGM progress): 15-1
REVISED ODDS (accepting Daily Mirror): 100-1

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 4: Some news has occurred since our original mid-April rankings. The Empire Web site quoted Tom Cruise as confirming that Brad Bird was definitely onboard to direct the film. But Paramount also announced in May the release date had been pushed back to December 2011. Still, all this showed that things were happening.

The biggest cloud now over the project may be whether Paramount is getting cold feet because of the disappoint box office receipts of Cruise’s recent Knight and Day movie, according to a story by Mike Fleming of Nikki Finke’s Deadline Web site.

ORIGINAL ODDS:2-1
REVISED ODDS: 3-2

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. A weblog of the Los Angeles Times reported June 28 that Warner Bros. likes a script commissioned earlier this year, wants to proceed with it but is still looking for a director.

We’ve been speptical since this latest version first surfaced earlier in the year, in part because have been lots of U.N.C.L.E. scripts that have gone nowhere. Things are still murky but something appears to be happening.

ORIGINAL ODDS:100-1
REVISED ODDS:25-1

New (serious) Matt Helm movie: Not much news on a movie that’d be a more faithful version of Donald Hamilton’s “counter assassin.”

ORIGINAL ODDS: 10-1, no revision.

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Daily Mirror reports Bond 23 `canned’ because of MGM financial ills

The Daily Mirror newspaper in the U.K. in a July 2 story is reporting that BOND 23 HAS BEEN CANCELED OR, AS THE PAPER PUT IT, CANNED. Here’s an excerpt:

The new James Bond film, due for release by 2012, has been canned due to a cash crisis.
(snip)
(I)t has confirmed the movie has been axed –- and it could be years before the secret agent with a licence to kill is back on the big screen.

The confirmation comes from a “glum insider,” not identified by name or title by the newspaper. Eon Productions said in April it was suspending development of the film, citing financial uncertainty at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., which owns half of the 007 franchise.

The Daily Mirror quotes a new statement from Eon that simply says the production company doesn’t know when work will resume and won’t comment further. The “cash crisis” referred to in the excerpt is MGM’s, still coping with a large debt load and an uncertain future.

Note: we first spotted this on the MI6 fan Web siteand you can read that summary, which cuts and pastes from much of the original article by CLICKING HERE. Or if you missed the link to the original article above, YOU CAN CLICK HERE.