With the appointment of Harry Sloan as the new chairman and CEO of Sony-owned MGM, a curious aspect of the Sony-MGM deal has come to light that suggests the historic studio may have a second shot at independent life…if it chooses
According to Variety, since April MGM has existed as a privately held company whose primary function is to exploit a 4,000-title library and co-produce a small number of film and TV projects with new parent Sony Pictures Entertainment. MGM-owned movies are distributed through SPE.
However, a clause in the contract will allow MGM to become an independent distributor and cease its arrangement with Sony in April, if the company chooses.
Although MGM’s most lucrative business is in homevideo and TV, new CEO Sloan said that producing movies “is going to become increasingly important to us.” To that end, he plans on filling out the executive ranks with new hires, including production execs.
“Movies will run the full gamut of MGM having full ownership down to just distribution rights,” he said.
Should MGM exercise its rights to distribute the movies it produces, it probably would not effect next year’s Casino Royale, the 21st James Bond film which sees the debut of Daniel Craig as 007. The latest Bond is a co-production between SPE’s Colombia Pictures and MGM.
However, a new distribution deal could impact Bond 22 which is currently being developed by Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
Sloan said that MGM would increasingly be in the business of new content and would “do a lot more than just remake UA and MGM titles.”
Sloan reports in his new post this week at MGM’s Century City headquarters, where 90% of the company has been consolidated.