MGM has been granted yet another extension by its creditors, the sixth delay in the studio’s bankruptcy meltdown. If not for this latest extension, the studio would have been forced to either find creditors or file bankruptcy by the end of Wednesday. Needless to say they don’t have the money yet.
The new deadline will be September 15th, and by that time (nearly a year since this fiasco began) MGM will have hopefully settled on a restructuring deal that will help the studio avoid having to sell off its assets in order to pay back the debt it owes to over 140 lenders.
Of course, the bad news for us movie fans is that this latest delay means that the fates of MGM’s top movie properties, The Hobbit and James Bond, will also be delayed even further. The news as of late (if you’ve been following) seems to indicate that the statuses of both The Hobbit and Bond 23 (the next film) could be in jeopardy; actors and directors circling both projects could ultimately walk if production doesn’t begin soon. So if you’re worried about Daniel Craig passing on Bond or Ian McKellen dropping out of The Hobbit, you can officially start to panic (just slightly though). Properties like the Red Dawn remake, a Three Stooges movie and a Robocop reboot are also hanging in the balance.
There is a silver lining: we recently got word that Spyglass Entertainment has an offer to MGM on the table – one that would transform MGM from a studio into a production-only entity, while pruning MGM’s costly marketing and distribution branches. The latest report is that Lionsgate (Kick-Ass) is also putting together another draft of an offer. Supposedly, this latest delay is to allow Lionsgate officials to revise their deal, based on a meeting that took place with a committee repping the MGM creditors this past week.
The deal Lionsgate proposed would essentially restructure MGM while retaining the studio’s name. MGM-Lionsgate would have access to MGM’s extensive back catalog of titles, the Bond franchise, half of The Hobbit (Warner Bros. has essentially purchased the other half already), a production-distribution branch that would handle valuable properties like the Tyler Perry empire and popular TV shows like Mad Men, and other miscellanous properties like a portion of TV Guide and a TV syndication branch.
Time Warner (which owns Warner Bros.) has already put a low-ball offer on the table and Summit Entertainment (The Twilight Saga) is also still circling. Time Warner offered to pay $1.5 billion for MGM and its properties – naturally the studio’s creditors are holding out for a better offer, as the debt owed to them is close to $4 billion.
Personally, at this point, as a movie fan, I’m hoping Time Warner gets hold of MGM, if only out of the selfish desire to see Warner Bros. appoint their frequent collaborator Chris Nolan as director of a James Bond film, while placing their other friend Peter Jackson at the helm of The Hobbit. But that’s a short-sighted movie geek wish, I know :-) – from a business standpoint, MGM’s creditors want to recoup their losses. I would too.
So, by September 15th we’ll hopefully have a final resolution to this MGM situation – and hopefully, hopefully our James Bond and Hobbit films will still be intact, with the stars and directors we want to see involved still attached. Hopefully (fingers crossed!).
Sources: Variety and The Associated Press