Sony Nabs James Bond Rights in Deal with MGM

Studio will co-finance and distribute Bond 23

Sony Pictures will retain its license to kill.

The studio beat out several suitors, including Paramount and 20th Century Fox, to  co-finance and theatrically market and distribute MGM's next James Bond film.

Sony will release the film, known as Bond 23, on November 9, 2012 throughout the world except for select International territories, where MGM will directly oversee distribution.

The two studios said that Sony will also co-finance and distribute Bond 24.

Additionally, MGM and Sony Pictures have agreed to explore co-financing opportunities on future motion pictures produced by each of the respective studios for the next five years.

The two studios have collaborated in recent years on numerous films, including the Bond films "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace." Other partnerships include "21," "The Pink Panther," and the forthcoming Kevin James comedy "Zookeeper."

The future of the Bond franchise remained in doubt for much of the past year as MGM struggled under $4 billion in debts. However, the spy sequel was given the green light after the studio's creditors approved a prepackaged bankruptcy. 

Daniel Craig is returning to his role as the ladykilling 007 and Sam Mendes ("American Beauty") will direct. 

Rights to MGM's other hot library property "The Hobbit" were carved up earlier this year, when Warner Brothers agreed to put up more of the film's budget in return for worldwide theatrical and video rights. MGM will handle international television licensing for the fantasy film.