007 checks out of Czech Republic

Next Bond film to be based at Pinewood


PRAGUE -- James Bond will not be returning to the Czech Republic.

Citing the lack of financial incentives in the country, 007 production company Eon has informed Prague's Barrandov it will not use the studios for the next movie in the series, according to Barrandov head Vladimir Kuba.

London-based Eon confirmed Monday it is basing the Marc Forster-helmed pic, which starts shooting in December, at the U.K.'s Pinewood Studios but declined to comment on reasons or on what other locales may also be in the package.

However, Kuba was told that the lack of Czech incentives killed Barrandov's chances, he said.

The "Casino Royale" shoot, based mainly in Prague, marked a high-water mark for foreign production at Barrandov. Aside from Bond, the studio also has lost the "Hellboy" franchise, worrying Czech industryites.

Their fears are going unheeded by state officials, who seem unwilling to even fund native production. The government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek announced earlier this month that a boost to the state-run cinematography fund last year of $4.8 million will not be renewed.

Meanwhile, new or modernized facilities are springing up in Hungary, Bulgaria and Serbia, and some countries are competing for foreign shoots by offering rebates equivalent to 20% of expenditures.