Is Bond 23’s budget almost $100 million less than QoS?

News on the Bond 23 front heated up recent with reports out of India that the new 007 is trying to set up filming a train sequence in that country. It was reported that the movie was encountering delays getting permission to shoot but may be making progress again. But there was one other tidbit that caught our eye. The Times of India in reporting about the planned train sequence, said Bond 23’s budget is $135 million.

If so, Bond 23’s budget is much smaller — almost $100 million — than Quantum of Solace’s reported $230 million outlay and about the same as the budget for 1999’s The World Is Not Enough, according to the Numbers.com Web site. It wasn’t until 1995’s GoldenEye than a Bond film budget even exceeded $100 million.

A big caveat: The Times of India doesn’t say *how* it got the $135 million. It simply asserts it as a fact, with the same certainty that the sun will rise in the east. Still, there reasons why 007 may have to economize this time out. The world economy is shaky. Walt Disney Co. recently called off a planned $250 million Lone Ranger movie to star Johnny Depp as Tonto. Hollywood in general is looking closer at spending.

More specific to Bond 23, the third Daniel Craig 007 film: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., which controls half the 007 franchise, had a quick trip into bankruptcy; it’s out of bankruptcy but hardly has the deepest pockets in Hollywood. That’s one reason why Columbia Pictures will actually release Bond 23. Meanwhile, Sony Corp., Columbia’s parent company, is having its own financial difficulties. That means Columbia has even more reason to limit the size of the checks it writes compared with 2008, when it evidently cut some big ones for Quantum of Solace.

It remains to be seen how accurate the $135 million figures is for Bond 23. It does, however, make sense its budget would be a lot less than Quantum’s. Who knows? Maybe Bond will have to fly coach.