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Quick Takes: MGM’s money woes sideline James Bond film

Bond in tight spot

Not surprisingly, the producers of the James Bond franchise have put the brakes on developing and producing the next installment of the 007 spy series because of the ongoing drama plaguing the franchise’s home studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.

“Due to the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of MGM and the failure to close a sale of the studio, we have suspended development of ‘Bond 23' indefinitely,” producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of Eon Productions said Monday. “We do not know when development will resume and do not have a date for the release of ‘Bond 23,’” which is the sequel to “Quantum of Solace,” released by MGM’s co-financing partner Sony Pictures in 2008.

The sequel was scheduled for release in late 2011 or in 2012 to coincide with the franchise’s 50th anniversary. MGM had no official comment on the development. Saddled with $3.7 billion in debt, MGM’s lenders have been pushing for either a sale of the company or a restructuring with an infusion of capital to remain a stand-alone operation.

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—Claudia Eller

Superhero teens win week

“Kick-Ass” may not have quite lived up to its name, but it did end up with a win.

When final counting in the closest box office race of the year wrapped up Monday, Lionsgate’s over-the-top superhero movie “Kick-Ass” landed in first place with a razor thin victory over DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon.”

After all ticket sales for Sunday were calculated, “Kick-Ass” distributor Lionsgate reported that its movie grossed $19.8 million in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, up just slightly from the studio’s estimate Sunday of $19.75 million.

“Dragon” distributor Paramount Pictures, meanwhile, revised its weekend estimate down from $20 million to $19.63 million, moving the strongly performing animated film from first place to second on its fourth weekend.

Such minor revisions of Sunday-morning box-office estimates on Monday are not unusual. It is rare for the order of the top two movies to switch, but it also happened last week when “Date Night” ended up in second place after Fox initially estimated it had beaten “Clash of the Titans.”

—Ben Fritz

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Mo’Nique gets an apology

The brother of Oscar winner Mo’Nique said Monday on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show that he molested the actress when they were children and he wants to apologize to her.

Gerald Imes said on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that the molestation continued for a year or two, starting when he was 13 and Mo’Nique was 7 or 8.

Imes said he decided to appear on Winfrey’s show to apologize to Mo’Nique and bring their family back together. Imes said he himself was molested and he was using drugs and alcohol at age 11.

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Mo’Nique has discussed her brother’s molestation in previous interviews. Winfrey said Mo’Nique didn’t want to be a part of the interview but gave Winfrey her blessing.

“She said if your expressing what you had done to her could save one family then it would be worth it,” Winfrey told Imes.

Mo’Nique received the supporting actress Academy Award in March for her role in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

—Associated Press

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Douglas makes plea for son

Michael Douglas says his family’s fame and history of substance abuse helped drive his troubled son into drug addiction and crime, and the Academy Award-winning actor is asking a judge to show leniency toward him.

“I love my son, but I’m not blind to his actions.... I don’t want to see him break,” the actor told the federal judge in a handwritten letter made public Monday, on the eve of Cameron Douglas’ sentencing in a drug case.

Cameron Douglas, 31, arrested in July at a Manhattan hotel, admitted in January that he dealt methamphetamine and cocaine. He pleaded guilty to a drug charge that carries a mandatory 10 years in prison.

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In his letter, Douglas painted his son’s problems as the product, in part, of a privileged but difficult childhood, a family legacy of drug and alcohol problems and the long shadow cast by a family of screen icons.

“I have some idea of the pressure of finding your own identity with a famous father,” wrote Douglas, who starred in “Wall Street” and whose father, Kirk, starred in “Spartacus.” “I’m not sure I can comprehend it with two generations to deal with.”

—Associated Press


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