James Bond will be back within the next three years, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer said on a call with investors this week.
There's no set timetable, MGM executives cautioned, only a sense of optimism and eagerness on the part of the studio that 007 will return in the not too distant future. If it can meet that tentative release schedule, that will shave a year off the wait between the two previous Bond adventures. "Quantum of Solace" hit theaters in 2008, but because of MGM's financial troubles, fans had to wait four years until the superspy returned in 2012's "Skyfall."
The delay didn't hurt Bond at that box office. "Skyfall" racked up more than $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office, which was roughly $500 million more than the next highest grossing film in the franchise, 2006's "Casino Royale."
It is also shaping up to be a home entertainment blockbuster. "Skyfall" has sold 3.7 million units domestically since it hit store shelves on February 12, MGM executives said. It has moved 4 million units overseas.
When Bond returns, he will do so without Sam Mendes at the helm. The Oscar-winning director of "American Beauty" was hailed by critics for the style he brought to the series, but MGM CEO Gary Barber said he will pursue other interests apart from the world of secret agents and martinis.
"We're very excited about the franchise...and were really thrilled as to where we've taken this franchise," Barber said.
He said that the studio expected to announce a new director soon and is currently developing a screenplay with John Logan, who helped write "Skyfall."