Several months ago, reports leaked that formerly struggling production company MGM was close to signing a deal with Sony to distribute James Bond 23, starring Daniel Craig and directed by Sam Mendes. That deal was rumored to also allow Sony to “release all future films made by MGM.” Now, official word has come down and only part of that is true.

MGM has officially partnered with Sony to distribute both James Bond 23 on November 9, 2012 as well as James Bond 24 several years later. Then, according to the press release, “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.” Does that mean we’re closer to seeing Red Dawn and A Cabin in the Woods or the Robocop and Child’s Play remakes, just to name a few? Maybe. Read more about the deal after the break.

Deadline was the first to post the press release. Here’s what Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton had to say about the deal as it stands in addition to the two James Bond films:

In addition to working together on Bond, this deal expands our relationship with MGM as we explore co-financing opportunities on other high-profile projects. Gary [Barber] and Roger [Birnbaum, co-MGM CEO's] are incredibly thoughtful and experienced leaders who are outstanding creative executives and respected moviemakers. While we are excited to be back in the Bond business, we also look forward to future collaborations and I am confident that this agreement will be long-term, lucrative, and beneficial to both studios.

Reading between the lines there, it does seem like Sony is very interested in projects that MGM may or may not have on the shelf or in active development. So, basically, this is great news for all the films that we’ve been writing about that were at MGM but didn’t have the money to push ahead.

Which of the MGM roster are you most excited might finally, now, get co-financed and distributed under the Sony banner?

Here’s the full press release for some more details:

LOS ANGELES, CA., April 13, 2011 – Sony Pictures Entertainment will remain in the James Bond business after reaching an agreement with MGM to co-finance and theatrically market and distribute Bond 23 worldwide, it was announced today by MGM Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum and Sony Pictures Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal. Sony will release the next film in this iconic franchise on November 9, 2012 throughout the world except for select International territories, where MGM will directly oversee distribution.

Sony Pictures and MGM look forward to Sony Pictures co-financing and distributing Bond 24 on a similar basis.

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 directly and indirectly in recent years on numerous films, including Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, 21, Yours, Mine and Ours, The Pink Panther, and the forthcoming Kevin James comedy Zookeeper.

The announcement of the agreement to distribute Bond 23 adds another high-profile title to Sony’s 2012 slate, which also includes Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man, as well as I Hate You, Dad, starring Adam Sandler, Here Comes the Boom, starring Kevin James, 21 Jump Street, Resident Evil 5 and Total Recall.

“Sony Pictures is the ideal studio partner for us as MGM re-enters the filmmaking business. We have longstanding relationships with Michael and Amy and look forward to what promises to be a prosperous future together,” said Barber and Birnbaum.

“In addition to working together on Bond, this deal expands our relationship with MGM as we explore co-financing opportunities on other high-profile projects,” Lynton said. “Gary and Roger are incredibly thoughtful and experienced leaders who are outstanding creative executives and respected moviemakers. While we are excited to be back in the Bond business, we also look forward to future collaborations and I am confident that this agreement will be long-term, lucrative, and beneficial to both studios.”

“After successfully working on the re-launch of the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, we could not be more proud or privileged to continue our association with Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, Daniel Craig, and the talented teams at EON and MGM,” said Pascal.

When Sony released Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, the films had record-high grosses for the Bond franchise, with Casino Royale taking in $599 million in worldwide ticket sales and Quantum of Solace generating $577 million.

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