"Skyfall" director Sam Mendes has turned down an offer to direct Agent 007's next big screen adventure.
Despite the film's critical praise and record-breaking success at the box office -- not to mention a BAFTA for Outstanding British Film and two Academy Awards -- Mendes told Empire that he has declined Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson's invitation to return for the follow-up.
"It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara's very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie," Mendes said. "Directing 'Skyfall' was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theater and other commitments, including productions of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'King Lear,' that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond."
To date, "Skyfall" -- the 23rd installment of the beloved franchise -- has accumulated over $1.1 billion worldwide, making it the highest-grossing Bond film ever. Following the BAFTA honor, the film scored an Oscar for sound editing, while Adele's "Skyfall" theme won the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Although Mendes is too busy with other projects to return to direct the secret agent's 24th outing, the rest of his statement hints at the possibility of returning for the 25th or 26th. "I feel very honored to have been part of the Bond family," Mendes added, "and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future."
Mendes' representatives did not immediately return TheWrap's request for comment.