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Daniel Craig to Return for 23rd ‘Bond'; Sam Mendes to Direct

Next ‘007’ movie will start production later this year and premiere Nov. 9, 2012

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and EON Productions announced Tuesday that the 23rd "James Bond" movie will go into production later this year and premiere Nov. 9, 2012.

Daniel Craig will return as the legendary British secret agent, with Sam Mendes directing. Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and John Logan will write the screenplay.

Confirmation of the project and its key components has been long-awaited, with MGM putting its filmmaking engines on ice for a full year as it sifted through a failed auction and attempt and ultimately successful pre-packaged bankruptcy, and Spyglass heads Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum taking over management of the studio.

While MGM was widely shut down as it dealt with its creditors, it did do the basics to protect its two most valuable franchises, "Bond" and "The Hobbit," with the latter Peter Jackson franchise set to be co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros.

MGM emerged from Chapter 11 protection in December with a $500 million line of credit, which it had planned on using to spend on "The Hobbit." However, with Warner committing $250 million in production resources to the series, it would seem that some of that credit line could be used on the next "Bond."

MGM has yet to announce a distribution partner for the next "Bond" movie. Sony distributed the last two "Bond" films, 2006's "Casino Royale" and 2008's "Quantum of Solace."

EON Production's chiefs Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and MGM announced last June that Morgan, Purvis and Wade had been commissioned to write the screenplay for the next "007" film. Wade and Purvis worked on "Quantum of Solace" and "Casino Royale," which collectively grossed more than $1.2 billion in worldwide box office.