Bond 23 to have tighter budget, The Sun says

The Sun, the U.K. tabloid newspaper, says Bond 23 will be made on a tighter budget than previous entries in the series.

The story (which you can read BY CLICKING HERE) leads off by saying Daniel Craig will grow a beard for the movie. But this passage caught our eye:

The film is going to be made on a shoestring budget in comparison to the last few.

A source said: “They’ve really scaled back.

“The lavish production and locations have been cut.

“There is only a reduced cast and crew travelling to the few overseas destinations.”

The Sun gets no more specific than that, nor describes how the source came across the information. The paper also doesn’t provide a specific budget figure. (It also has a plot spoiler if you care to read the story).

This is the second report (at least indirectly) referring to a smaller budget for Bond 23. The Times of India, IN A STORY IN AUGUST said Bond 23’s budget was $135 million. That newspaper didn’t specify how it got that figure, not even attributing it to a source, just stating the number.

Quantum of Solace had a budget of $230 million, according to The Numbers.com Web site. As we’ve noted before, a reduced Bond 23 budget would make sense. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which controls half the 007 franchise, reorganized itself in bankruptcy court. Sony Corp., whose Columbia Pictures will distribute Bond 23, is having its own financial tough times. It’s up to MGM and Sony to finance Bond 23 and the world is a lot different in 2011 than it was in 2008.

UPDATE: The $135 million figure may have originated with a story in the Sunday Times of London earlier this year. You can read a version that ran on The Australian’s Web site by CLICKING HERE. That story said MGM and Sony intended to raise $45 million, or one-third of Bond 23’s production budget, through product placement deals.

Simple math — 45 multiplied by 3 — gives you $135 million.

Our (not so serious) Bond 23 product placement suggestions

So, Sony and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer want product placement to provide one-third of Bond 23’s production budget, according to a Sunday Times story that ran in The Australian recently. Are there new ways this can be accomplished? New sources of product placement may have to be found that go beyond the usual car and watch deals. We have some ideas:

Bond at breakfast: The hallmark of the Daniel Craig 007 era is that it’s supposed to be gritty and real , no more of the hokey one liners, no more hackneyed, fantasy plots. This is REAL LIFE (except when the laws of physics are violated, but that’s artistic, so it’s OK). What’s more gritty and real life than eating breakfast? This is real life, after all.

Think of it. No 007 movie has shown Bond having breakfast. The closest we got was Sean Connery ordering yogurt and green figs for the next morning in a scene in From Russia With Love. The script could be crafted that Bond is thinking really, REALLY hard about something at breakfast. Daniel Craig can look angry, he could look inquisitive, whatever furthers the story. And while he does that, he can have Kelogg’s Frosted Fakes, or Dannon yogurt or an Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s, or whoever offers the best deal.

This would have the added benefit of being true to the spirit of Ian Fleming, whose original 007 novels featured a lot of detail on what Bond ate. As the MBA types would say, it’s a win-win situation.

Bond at the gym: If the Bond 23 story included some sexual tension between 007 and a female character, it could be set up this way: Bond and the woman exchange some banter. The woman could say something suggestive.

“Well,” Bond replies, “I really have to work out first.” The woman says in a sultry manner, “I’d really love to see that.”

We cut to Bond at the gym working out. Nike, no doubt, would gladly pony up big bucks to get its name on Bond’s gym clothes. Some of Nike’s competitors would offer a lot just to make sure Nike wouldn’t get into the movie.

This also fits into how the Craig 007 movies are gritty and real, not fantasy. After all, ripped bodies like Craig/Bond don’t just happen. They’re the result of a lot of hard work and dedication. It would reinforce how 007 is a dedicated, serious character, not some quipster.

Bond staking out his quarry: In the gritty and real world, 007 can’t just wonder into some place and just spring into action. If the story calls for it, we could see his gritty and real determination to get information, to get an opponent. We could see him parked discreetly away, spending hours patiently waiting for the right moment to strike. And while he’s doing so, he can drink a coffee from Starbucks, or one of its competitors. Once more, this would reinforce the themes of the Daniel Craig era.

As Marc Forester might say, each product placement is its own character, it has its own contribution, it helps to make it real. These suggestions help further that artistic vision.

Roger Deakins confirms he’ll photograph Bond 23; next 007 film to have record product placement, Sunday Times says

Roger Deakins confirmed on May 1 that he’ll be director of photography for Bond 23 in a posting on his own Web site.

This is all he said:

Yes, I can say that I am doing the next ‘Bond’ film. It is early days and the film won’t shoot until November.

Deakins’s comment seems to verify a comment Judi Dench made about a November start of production for Bond 23. The film, Daniel Craig’s long-delayed third outing as Bond, will be directed by Sam Mendes and has a release date of Nov. 9, 2012.

UPDATE: The Sunday Times of London reports that Bond 23 will have a record amount of product placement — enough to cover one-third of its production budget. An excerpt:

Under a deal struck between the MGM studio and the film’s distributor, Sony, $45 million will be raised from companies wanting their brands displayed on screen, says a New York marketing executive.

The figure is twice the previous record, held by Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, released in 2002. Lexus, Bulgari and American Express together paid about $20m to appear in the film.

The Sunday Times Web site is subscription only. However, The Australian newspaper’s Web site is running the article so you can view it BY CLICKING HERE.