Did Sony give up Girl With a Dragon Tattoo to get Bond 23?
Sony Pictures released the last two James Bond movies, CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE. They only received about 8% of the film's profits but they look nice on a release schedule and Sony sure liked having them around. Their deal was only two pictures though and as MGM preps BOND 23, they went around to all the Hollywood studios seeing if there were any new bidders. Sony was clearly the frontrunner due to their history with the franchise but this time around, MGM was asking for a lot more from a potential distributor. Specifically, a financial stake in an existing franchise.
As part of their deal, MGM was telling studio executives that they wanted an investment stake in films they had no business on to help build cash flow and boost revenue (thereby making it easier to greenlight new productions and get the MGM brand moving again). Most studios, including Paramount, balked at the request but according to reports, Sony was almost pleading with MGM to come with them. So much so they gave MGM a co-financing deal on one of their biggest titles of 2011, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.
MGM obviously had nothing to do with DRAGON TATTOO but Sony will be giving them a portion of the profits of the David Fincher thriller along with, presumably, a stake in any of the sequels. MGM was also reportedly trying to bring down the 8% distribution fee. So why would Sony agree to less money and giving away a chunk of one of their prestige pics for BOND 23?
It's unclear exactly but likely because Sony spent a good deal of money marketing and essentially "rebranding" James Bond when Daniel Craig took over the role. With that money already spent, it's possible they believe this film would bring in more profit with less P&A expenses than either of the first two films.
Either way, it's a killer move for MGM who may be on their way to digging out of bankruptcy.