The Financial Times, in a story picked up by The Hollywood Reporter, reports that the proposed attempts to raise $700 million to $1 billion funding for selected MGM tentpole releases have been “blown off-course” due to the recent global debt market crunch.
Among these titles are The Hobbit, Terminator 4 and upcoming instalments of the Pink Panther and James Bond franchises. Bond 22 is an MGM co-production with Sony Pictures.
According to the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, underwriters of the proposed slate of pictures, have stepped down from their role “amid credit woes”. While the financing arrangement has not been ditched all together, it is said to have shifted from an underwriting commitment to a “best efforts” commitment to complete the funding.
MGM is now said to be looking for outside financing for the aforesaid films, which were all on the list of movies Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank were to have sought out funding for. However, the studio is understood to be relaxed about the delay as none of the films are due to commence production immediately.
One Hollywood Reporter source said MGM may wait until later in the year before pushing for funding, in hope that the credit market will bounce back. Alternatively, the two banks may remain in business with the studio, but bring in further partners by syndicating the loan.
MGM refused to comment on the reports, while spokespeople for Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank could not be reached.
Bond 22 is due for release on 7 November 2008, while Sony are said to be eying a 2010 release date for Bond 23.