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Thompson on Hollywood

Warner Bros. Takes On International Distribution for Peter Jackson's The Hobbit

Warner Bros. has reached a deal to handle the international theatrical and video distribution on MGM's behalf for Peter Jackson's Lord of The Rings trilogy prequel, The Hobbit (in two parts), adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien's novel. MGM will oversee international television licensing for the films and both studios will collaborate on the films' marketing and release.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • January 6, 2011 9:15 AM
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New MGM Chairmen Birnbaum and Barber Will Turn On Green Light by Mid-December. Whither Bond?

Now that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has approved MGM's reorganization plan, by mid-December, if all goes smoothly, the lean and mean MGM will have emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, MGM's secured lenders will exchange some $5 billion (which includes accrued interest and fees) for most of the equity in MGM, JPMorgan Chase will have raised $500 million for operations funding, and Spyglass partners Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum will take over the studio as co-chairman and chief executive officers of MGM Inc. That means they can start greenlighting movies and TV shows.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 2, 2010 6:04 AM
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AFM Panels: Weinstein Loves iPad, Barber Talks MGM, Deconstructing Global Markets

AFM Panels: Weinstein Loves iPad, Barber Talks MGM, Deconstructing Global Markets
The American Film Market is under way in Santa Monica. Here are ten things Anthony D'Alessandro learned at AFM panels.
  • By Anthony D'Alessandro
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  • November 8, 2010 12:06 AM
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MGM Lenders Vote on Reorg, SpyGlass Chiefs Barber and Birnbaum Take Over After Chapter 11

Thursday, MGM started to solicit votes from its secured lenders for its planned reorganization. MGM will continue to do business during its restructuring process, such as it is. When MGM comes out from Chapter 11, SpyGlass co-chairman and CEO Roger Birnbaum and Gary Berber will emerge as co-chairman and CEO of the new MGM. Their announcement explains:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • October 7, 2010 10:35 AM
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Director Watch: Snyder Takes Superman, Gilroy on Bourne 4, Hobbit Inches Closer, Luhrmann Goes Glee

- Superman has a new daddy: Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) will direct Warner Bros' franchise revival, with Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas producing--the dynamic duo that rebooted Batman. Nolan came up with the story; Batman Begins scribe David S. Goyer wrote the screenplay, which brings back villain General Zod. “I feel super awesome,” Snyder told the LAT, while admitting that he lies awake at night thinking of how his Superman - who "has to be a man" - will be recreated. No boys need apply for the job; this is a the "biggest and baddest of them all," Snyder says, "The greatest of them all, right? We all want to know how the next chapter takes shape. I want to know how it will take shape.”
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • October 5, 2010 4:45 AM
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  • 2 Comments

Will MGM Go Asian?

The Wall Street Journal reports that Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar is in exploratory talks to buy MGM for more than $2 billion, according to one source:
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • September 19, 2010 11:23 AM
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  • 1 Comment

MGM's Future Comes Due: Spyglass Closing Deal

Time is running out on MGM, which has staved off six debt payments and owes another in September.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • August 10, 2010 12:15 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Mid-Summer Box Office Wrap: Top Ten Chart, Studio Report Card

At mid-summer, the box office is lagging just behind last year's pace and ticket sales are flat, reports Anthony D'Alessandro, who charts the season's winners, losers and studio market shares so far (as of last weekend). Will red-hot Inception take the number one box office crown from Toy Story 3? Stay tuned, as numbers and rankings will change by Labor Day.
  • By Anthony D'Allessandro
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  • August 5, 2010 5:37 AM
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The Hobbit Could Lose McKellen, Movie House Revivals, Lautner's Muscles

-Even with Peter Jackson prepared to take over the directing helm, continued delays on The Hobbit put the cast's availability at risk. Even the film's Gandalf, Ian McKellen, is under no contract to appear in The Hobbit, the veteran actor revealed in an interview with New Zealand's Good Morning. He said his time is "running out," and he is actually more interested in working the theater. "Frankly, I would like to race after doing Waiting For Godot, get on with doing another play but we'll have to see. I don't give the producers the impression that I'm sitting waiting." One possible save-the-day scenario would see debt-ridden MGM selling the rights to Warner Bros./New Line (which is also a potential buyer of the studio). With the next James Bond already on hiatus, many Hollywood players are working behind the scenes to untie The Hobbit's Gordian knot.
  • By Sophia Savage
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  • July 5, 2010 5:35 AM
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MGM in Flux, Jackson Wants Hobbits, Weinsteins Lose Library, Ortenberg to Apparition

There's a lot going on in Hollywood this summer, as the economy and DVD declines continue to take their toll on several struggling distributors, from MGM and Lionsgate to the Weinstein Co., Overture and Apparition. MGM is in flux, as it struggles to pull itself back from the brink of bankruptcy and figure out a way to get The Hobbit films made with Peter Jackson at the helm. But whether that's possible is still the question. MGM needs help.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • June 25, 2010 7:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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