James Bond will be back within the next three years, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer said on a call with investors.
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 the film comes out as soon as MGM hopes, that would 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 worldwide, 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 Feb. 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 has said he will pursue other interests apart from the world of secret agents and martinis.
"We're very excited about the franchise...and we're really thrilled as to where we've taken this franchise," said MGM CEO Gary Barber.
He said the studio expects to announce a new director soon and is currently developing a screenplay with John Logan, who helped write "Skyfall."
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