MGM Finally Recovering, Votes in Spyglass Execs as New Heads
Its been more than a year since it was first revealed that legendary movie studio MGM was going bankrupt and in need of financial support. We've covered occasional news stories about them ever since, but most of it has been business talk about getting financiers. The studio isn't out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy yet, but they have finally, officially announced that Spyglass Entertainment execs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum will take over as co-chairman and CEO. The announcement was made by MGM, so it isn't premature news like with Miramax. Details are still being worked out, but this is the next big step for the struggling studio.
Here are some of the key details from today's press release: "The Plan provides for MGM’s secured lenders to exchange more than $4 billion in outstanding debt for approximately 95.3% of equity in MGM upon its emergence from Chapter 11… Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, currently Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Spyglass Entertainment, would serve as the Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MGM following the company's emergence from Chapter 11." So Spyglass (at least a few of its execs), which helped develop movies like Evan Almighty, Balls of Fury, The Ruins, The Happening, Wanted, Four Christmases, Star Trek, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Get Him to the Greek, Dinner for Schmucks and The Tourist, will be taking over the legendary Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Things are changing in Hollywood and this is huge news.
MGM's plan is a "reorganization plan" which means there will be some big changes at MGM once Barber and Birnbaum take over. We're not exactly sure what this means for the future of the James Bond franchise and projects like The Hobbit, but I think this is at least a big first step in getting the studio on the right track again. They're still in need of financing to pay off all of their debt and I'm sure some of that involves figuring out how to come up with half of the $500 million budget of The Hobbit. We'll keep you updated on MGM's situation, including specific plans for the new studio once Barber and Birnbaum move in. If you want more information on this news specifically, you can read the reports on indieWIRE or ComingSoon. Stay tuned!