MGM Studios

by Abby Schwartz

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


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




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, 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].



[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

[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.



Spyglass Entertainment


by Hadley Rosenbaum


Courtesy of Spyglass

245 N Beverly Dr

Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Tel: 1 310 443 5800

Fax: 1 310 443 5912



Spyglass Entertainment, LLC is an American Film and Television production company that was co-founded by Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber in 1998. European media giants, Kirch Group in Germany, and Mediaset in Italy, were the founders of Spyglass and agreed to invest for 5 years in the films that were produced in the studio. The deal was estimated to be worth $250 million (1). This deal was backed by The Walt Disney Company, and they aimed to produce around 3 to 5 movies a year through “a combination of studio money, global alliances with international distributors and media companies, and backed by a large financial institution”(2). Cerberus Capital Management currently owns the company.

Key Figures (3)


CO-Founders of Spyglass Entertainment

Gary Barber- Co-Chairman

Courtesy of Spyglass Entertainment

Courtesy of Spyglass Entertainment

Gary Barber is the co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment along with his partner Roger Birnbaum. He has produced and executive produced a handful of films and he has run many entertainment businesses, including production, music, foreign distribution etc. He is a true mastermind of the entertainment business. Before Spyglass, Barber was the Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Morgan Creek, which is another American production studio. Even before Morgan Creek, Barber was the President of Vestron International Group, which focused on home video distribution. Barber received his college degrees fro the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa. Mr. Barber was named Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. in December 2010, but he continues to serve as Co-Chairman of the Board of Spyglass.

Roger Birnbaum- Co-Chairman

Roger Birnbaum is the co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment along with his partner Gary Barber. Birnbaum started his career as Vice President of Arista Records and A&M Records before starting his career in the film industry. Before he co-founded Spyglass Entertainment, Birnbaum co-founded Caravan Pictures, where he helped to produce

Courtesy of Spyglass Entertainment

Courtesy of Spyglass Entertainment

many box office hits like “Rush Hour,” “Inspector Gadget,” “ “The Three Musketeers,” “Angels in the Outfield” and “While You Were Sleeping.” Even before working at Caravan, Birnbaum was the President of Worldwide Production and Executive Vice President of Twentieth Century Fox, where he helped produce a multitude of great films, like“Home Alone,” “Sleeping with the Enemy,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “My Cousin Vinny,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Die Hard 2” and “Mrs. Doubtfire,” among others.  Lastly, prior to that, Birnbaum was President of Production for United Artists, where he helped to develop and produce the Oscar winning film “Rain Man.”

Jose Gutierrez

Jose is the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Executive officer. He takes care of everything financially- related to Spyglass entertainment- banking and financial reporting, day-to-day activities, etc.

Success (3) (7)

Spyglass films have made a huge source of revenue in the box office, grossing over $5 billion worldwide to this day. Spyglass started its success with The Sixth Sense Spyglass was launched with the phenomenal box office success “The Sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis, the-sixth-sensewhich grossed over $661 million and achieved six Academy Award nominations.  It also had another 32 wins and 37 nominations across the board (7). Other successes include Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey, BruceAlmighty_posterwhich grossed over $485 million in worldwide box office and is considered one of the blockbuster comedies of all time, and Memoirs of a Geisha, Read book online free 1-711721based on the best-selling novel, which earned Spyglass three Oscar wins out of six nominations, bringing the company a total, to date, of 34 nominations.




A lot of the movies Spyglass Entertainment helped produce were in collaboration with other production companies, and have slowly stopped producing movies in their studio. This is because in 2010, Spyglass purchased Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., which lifted the

MGM Logo

MGM Logo

company out of bankruptcy. Spyglass Entertainment and its investor Carl Ichan wrote off around $5 billion in debts in exchange for the studio. I was announced that Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum would become co-chairmen and chief executive officers of the studio (4).

Metro- Goldwyn-Meyer Studio owns one of the largest modern collections of feature films in the world, including 4,100 theatrically released feature film titles and approximately 10,800 television episodes. Films in the MGM Library have won over 200 Academy Awards, including 15 Best Picture Awards (5). This iconic company has so many operating units, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Distribution Co., MGM International Television Distribution Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in domestic and international TV channels reaching over 130 countries (6).

Right Here, Right Now (8)

Spyglass Entertainment now serves as more of a distribution company of the movies they already have, and they have scaled back a lot on their movie production because of the merge. There are still some movies in production, just not 20 year.

One movie in production right now is Hercules: The Thracian Wars, which is set to start filming this upcoming may, and the release date is set for July 25th, 2014. The movie is based off of a comic book, and has Dwayne Johnson playing Hercules. It will basically be a comic book-action- spinoff.

Spyglass has a few movies right now currently in development. One is called The Undomestic Goddess, which is a comedy about an American attorney who loses her job and finds work as a housemaid in England. This is based off of a book, and has no set date to begin production.

Another movie in development for Spyglass is called The Game, which is going to be an action/comedy about a man who hires a professional seduction expert to help him become the world’s best pick-up artist. Brian Koppelman and David Levien are attached to the movie as the directors/writers, and this movie is based off of a novel.

One last movie Spyglass has signed on to co-produce is called The Brood, which is an adaption of a 1970’s horror television show, which is now being remade into a movie by Breck Eisner.