The James Bond film series is a series of motion pictures, based on the fictional character of MI6 agent James Bond (code designation "007") appearing in the novels by Ian Fleming. Earlier films were based on Fleming's novels and short stories, followed later by films with original storylines. The franchise remains one of the longest continually running film series in history, having been in ongoing production from 1962 to 2010 with a six-year hiatus between 1989 and 1995. In that time EON Productions has produced 22 films, at an average of about one every two years, usually produced at Pinewood Studios. The films have grossed just over US$ 12 billion (in inflation adjusted dollars) at the worldwide box office, making it easily the highest-grossing film series ever (well ahead of both Star Wars and Harry Potter, which only appear ahead of Bond if inflation is ignored). In addition, there are two independent productions and an American television adaptation of the first novel. Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman co-produced the EON films until 1975, when Broccoli became the sole producer. Since 1995, Broccoli's daughter Barbara and stepson Michael G. Wilson have co-produced them. Six actors have portrayed 007 in the EON series so far (not counting stunt doubles, authorised video game voiceovers, etc.). Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pearce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.
Broccoli's (and until 1975, Saltzman's) family company, Danjaq, has held ownership of the James Bond film series through EON, and maintained co-ownership with United Artists since the mid-1970s. From the release of Dr. No (1962) up to For Your Eyes Only (1981), the films were distributed solely by UA. When Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought UA in 1981, MGM/UA Entertainment Co. was formed and distributed the films until 1995. MGM solely distributed three films from 1997 to 2002 after UA retired as a mainstream studio. From 2006 to present MGM and Columbia Pictures co-distribute the franchise, as Columbia's parent company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, (in a consortium including Sony, Comcast, TPG Capital, L.P. and Providence Equity Partners) bought MGM in 2005.
On November 3, 2010, MGM filed for bankruptcy. 5% of the company's assets are to be acquired by Spyglass Entertainment, but it is currently unknown if the James Bond rights are included in that deal.
The 23rd Bond film was suspended throughout 2010 because of MGM's financial troubles; however, following MGM's exit from bankruptcy in December 2010, the new film resumed pre-production and was officially given a release date of 9 November 2012 by MGM and the Broccoli family on 11 January 2011. The film will be part of yearlong celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Dr. No and the Bond franchise. Production will start in late 2011. The 23rd Bond movie will be directed by Sam Mendes with a script by Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade as well as John Logan. Daniel Craig will continue in the lead role and Dame Judi Dench is confirmed to reprise her role as M.