It took a while, and it looked like the most enduring franchise in cinema history was in danger, but finally James Bond 23 will be made!

Sony Pictures, the company that released “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace”, has signed a deal with MGM to release the upcoming “Bond 23″ and the following “Bond 24″.  Part of the deal includes the possibility of co-financing each company’s projects over the next five years, including Sony’s “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” due out in December and the upcoming remake of “Total Recall”.

The tentatively titled “Bond 23″ (rumored titles for the film include Ian Fleming short story titles “Property of a Lady” and “Bond In New York”) has been on the verge of cancellation since MGM filed for bankruptcy.  The film will be directed by “American Beauty” director Sam Mendes and will see Daniel Craig returning to the role of James Bond.  Craig’s contract for the series guarantees him as 007 through at least “Bond 24″.  Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were optimistic about a deal with Sony, as Craig’s previous two Bond films brought in almost $1.2 billion world-wide.

“Bond 23′s” 2012 release puts it in line with other major Sony releases including “Men In Black 3″ and “The Amazing Spider-man”.