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MGM talks about its five franchises

Permanent Link by bootlegga on Tue Nov 14, 2006 1:56 pm

Variety reports that MGM will focus on the five following franchises; James Bond, The Pink Panther, Thomas Crown, Rocky and the Hobbit.

Variety reports that MGM chairman and chief executive Harry Sloan talked about the studio's five core franchises at the European Media Leaders Summit in London. Surprisingly, while chief operating officer Rick Sands just last month talked about a fourth "Terminator," the franchise was not mentioned this time. Instead, Sloan concentrated on James Bond, The Pink Panther, Thomas Crown, Rocky and The Hobbit.

Next year is likely to see MGM go into production with new installments of the first three.

Steve Martin recently delivered a script for the latest "Pink Panther," which will see his Inspector Clouseau character being forced to team up with equally eccentric and bumbling detectives from several other European countries to defeat a continent-wide crime wave. Shooting is expected to start in February.

The next "Thomas Crown" movie, starring Pierce Brosnan, is scheduled for a March start, with a likely budget around $100 million. Daniel Craig will also return in the sequel to Casino Royale.

But Sloan said that Rocky Balboa will probably be the last installment in that franchise, because Sylvester Stallone's title character will be too old to get back in the ring.

As for The Hobbit, Sloan confirmed that MGM was in advanced talks with Peter Jackson to make two movies based on JRR Tolkien's "prequel" to "The Lord of the Rings." The first would be a direct adaptation of The Hobbit, and the second would be drawn from "footnotes and source material connecting 'The Hobbit' with 'Lord of the Rings,'" he explained.

An MGM spokesman emphasized that negotiations with Jackson are still in progress, and that production isn't likely until 2008 or even 2009.
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