MGM Studios

by Abby Schwartz

[1] MGM‘s iconic logo and mascot Leo the Lion

History

MGM Studios was founded in 1924 through the merger of three pre-existing studios: Metro Pictures Corp., Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Productions. This leading entertainment company is involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs.  Some of the studio’s early work include successful classics such as Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz [2]. Once a major player in the industry, MGM filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2010 but emerged shortly thereafter, leaving Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum of Spyglass Entertainment as heads on the company [3]. A mere two years later however, Birnbaum left MGM to return to producing, making Barber the sole CEO and Chairman of the company [4]. 2014 marks the 90th Anniversary of the studio. In celebration, movies will be re-released on Blu-ray and a special trailer will be played throughout theaters giving the viewers a glimpse into the rich history of the company [5].

Key Executives

 

[6] Gary Barber (L)- Chairman and CEO

[7] Jonathan Glickman  (R)- President, Motion Picture Group

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 3.26.17 PM

 

[8] Roma Khanna (L)- President, Television Group and Digital

[9] Dene B. Stratton (R)- CFO

 

 

Finances

Although still partially privately held by MGM Holdings Inc. MGM has been publicly releasing its finances since its bankruptcy in 2010 and IPO for MGMB was offered in 2012. In its most recent quarterly report (Q3), the company announced net income of $28.5 million, up from 16.5 in the same quarter last year. The revenue however, came in about $9 million lower in comparison to the same quarter in 2013 [10]. This drop was expected since 2013 generated significant revenue thanks to the “theatrical explosion” of Skyfall, the 23rd installment in the successful James Bond franchise, in late 2012 [11].

MGM also revealed in its report that it had paid $343 million for a 55% stake in a joint venture with Mark BurnettRoma Downey, and Hearst Entertainment Productions [12]. All of the interests will be consolidated in United Artists Media Group – a new media venture. This venture gives MGM a stake in successful television shows such as Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank, and the upcoming miniseries A.D. [13].

Upcoming Projects

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (12/17/14)

[14] The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Trailer

The Hobbit: Battle of Five is the final installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel of the same name.  It is a co-production with New Line Cinema, WingNut Films, and Warner Bros. who also is the film distributor.  According to Jackson, the movie is not so much about this final battle per se, but rather about what will happen to beloved characters. The film stars franchise favorites Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman [15]. This past week, according to iSpot.tv, The Hobbit spent the most money in television advertising, having twelve variations of the ad play on 47 networks [16].

Max (01/30/15)

Not much is known about this co-production with Warner Bros. due out this January. Directed by Boaz Yakin, the film tells the story of Max, a service dog who returns to the U.S. after his handler’s traumatizing death. Once stateside, he is adopted by the man’s grieving family and helps them heal, moving past their tragedy [17].

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (02/20/15)

[18] Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Trailer (NSFW)

This comedic farce is the sequel to the 2010 film Hot Tub Time Machine and stars funny men Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, and Clark Duke who are all reprising their characters introduced in the first film. Joining them will be Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott, who fill the spot left opened by John Cusack.  Originally due out Christmas Day, it was announced in October that the film was being pushed back until February, thus avoiding direct competition with Sony’s fellow buddy film The Interview which stars comedy duo James Franco and Seth Rogan [19]. MGM will distribute and co-produce the film with Paramount Pictures.

Don’t Mess With Texas (05/08/15)

[22] Vergara and Witherspoon pose for a photo on set

Bringing together Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara, the female centric comedy set for a spring release is about a cop (Witherspoon) who goes on the run with a prisoner (Vergara), who is the wife of a drug dealer [20]. Co-produced with Warner Bro. and Newline Cinema, the action-comedy is being directed by Anne Fletcher known for popular films such as The Proposal and more recently Guilt Trip [21].

Poltergeist (07/24/15)

The 80s film about a Californian family haunted by supernatural forces and was also produced by MGM, is getting an update. This remake of the horror film is written by Pulitzer Prize Winner David Lindsay-Abaire and being produced by The Evil Dead‘s Sam Raimi [23]. Initially, the film – based on the original, considered by many to be the scariest film of all time – received an R rating from the MPAA, but producer Steven Spielberg successfully lobbied for the film to receive a PG-13 rating [24]. Rosemarie DeWitt, who plays mom Amy Bowen, revealed that the iconic line from the original “They’re Here” will be featured in the film which will also have lots of modern tech gadgets like iPads to reflect on the current times [25].

Bond 24 (11/06/15)

The currently working-titled film will be the 24th installment in the successful franchise.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in a movie poster for Skyfall (2012)

Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes will reprise their roles as 007 and director respectively [26]. Additionally, Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz has been tapped to play iconic villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who has not been featured in a Bond film since 1981 [27]. Hilary Swank has recently been rumored to be the next Bond Girl, making her the oldest one in the history of the franchise, but many believe this to be just talk and that the coveted role will go to French actress Léa Syedoux [28]. In legal news, MGM continues a copyright infringement case against Universal over Bond, claiming that their upcoming film ‘Section 6’ is a rip-off of the spy franchise. Universal has been trying to get the case dismissed since its filing in May claiming that MGM is afraid of any possible competitors [29].

Ben Hur (02/26/16)

Though not premiering for over a year, this remake of the 1959 film based on Lew Wallace’s 1880 novel is already creating significant buzz. The film marks the first known collaboration between MGM and Burnett/Downey and tells the epic story of a falsely accused prince (Ben Hur) who manages to survive years of slavery and vows to take vengeance on his friend Messala who betrayed him. Boardwalk Empire star Jack Huston is confirmed to play the title role. He joins the previously cast Morgan Freeman who is slated to play Ben Hur’s mentor Ildarin [30]. Toby Kebbell, Ayelet Zurer and Olivia Cooke are slated to star as Massala, Naomi (Ben Hur’s mother), and Tirzah (Ben Hur’s sister) respectively [31].

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Sources

[1] Leo The Lion GIF. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2014.

[2] MGM HomePage. (n.d.). Retrieved November 19, 2014.

[3] McNary, D. (2010, November 4). Judge OKs MGM Bankruptcy Motions. Retrieved November 19,  2014.

[4] Finke, N. (2012, October 3). MGM’s Roger Birnbaum Steps Down To Return To Producing; Gary Barber Now Revived Studio’s Sole Chairman & CEO. Retrieved November 19, 2014.

[5] METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER CELEBRATES 90 YEARS OF EXTRAORDINARY FILMMAKING. (2014, January 22). Retrieved November 11, 2014.

[6] Gary Barber Photo. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2014.

[7] Jonathan Glickman Photo (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2014.

[8] Roma Khanna Photo (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2014.

[9] Dene B. Stratton Photo (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2014.

[10] Wanvari, T. (2014, November 18). MGM Holdings revenue down, income up in Q3-2014. Retrieved November 22, 2014.

[11] MGM HOLDINGS INC. For the quarter ended September 30, 2014. (2014, November). Retrieved November 22, 2014.

[12] Lang, B. (2014, November 13). MGM Spent $343 Million for Mark Burnett/Roma Downey Joint Venture. Retrieved November 22, 2014.

[13] Fleming, M., & Busch, A. (2014, September 22). MGM Buys 55% Of Roma Downey And Mark Burnett’s Empire; Relaunches United Artists. Retrieved November 22, 2014.

[14] The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Official Main Trailer [HD]. (2014, November 6). Retrieved November 23, 2014.

[15] Truitt, B. (2014, November 6). ‘Five Armies’ closes the curtain on Middle-earth. Retrieved November 23, 2014.

[16] ‘The Hobbit’ Battles Its Way to Top TV Ad Spend Position. (2014, November 26). Retrieved November 29, 2014.

[17] Max. (n.d.). Retrieved November 26, 2014.

[18] Hot Tub Time Machine 2 – Red Band Trailer. (2014, July 24). Retrieved November 26, 2014.

[19] McClintock, P. (2014, October 14). Christmas Exodus Continues as ‘Hot Tub Time Machine 2’ Pushes Back Release – Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 26, 2014.

[20] Don’t Mess with Texas. (n.d.). Retrieved November 27, 2014, from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2967224/

[21] Anne Fletcher. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2014.

[22] Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2014.

[23] Poltergeist. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2014.

[24] Marquina, S. (2014, October 17). Poltergeist Reboot Scores PG-13 Rating By the MPAA. Retrieved November 27, 2014.

[25] Malkin, M. (2014, October 5). Will Poltergeist Remake Include ”They’re Here”? Retrieved November 30, 2014.

[26] Bond 24. (n.d.). Retrieved November 25, 2014.

[27] London, C. (2014, November 23). You weren’t expecting this, 007. But…BLOFELD’S BACK! Bond will be having kittens as evil foe returns – with double Oscar winner Christoph Waltz tipped to play him . Retrieved November 26, 2014.

[28] Leston, R. (2014, November 29). Hilary Swank Linked With Bond 24. Retrieved December 1, 2014.

[29] Patten, D. (2014, October 7). Universal Hits Back At “Desperate” James Bond Lawsuit From MGM & 007 Producers. Retrieved November 23, 2014.

[30] Fleming, M. (2014, September 16). ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake: ‘Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston Lands Title Role. Retrieved November 28, 2014.

[31] Sneider, J. (2014, November 13). ‘Ouija’ Star Olivia Cooke May Play Jack Huston’s Sister in ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake (Exclusive) – TheWrap. Retrieved November 29, 2014.

 

 

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