MGM Files for Bankruptcy; Spyglass Entertainment To Take Over

Published 5 years ago by

mgm logo11 MGM Files for Bankruptcy; Spyglass Entertainment To Take Over

MGM’s financial woes have continually spiraled from bad to worse for the better part of a year and in light of these setbacks, the future of tentpole films like The Hobbit and Bond 23 were called into question. Instead of financing these high profile projects, MGM was forced to put the money towards their $4 billion debt.

Since late June, Spyglass Entertainment CEOs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum have been discussing a reorganization plan with MGM that would begin with the studio filing for a prepackaged Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The court process would last around 30 days and then Barber and Birnbaum would take the reigns as the new owners of MGM.

According to Deadline, these events have been set in motion and MGM has begun taking the important first steps towards reinventing itself. Barber and Birnbaum’s plan still has to be approved by a hundred or so creditors and would see the legendary studio minimized into a production company worth around $1.9 billion ($3 billion less than MGM’s price tag back in 2005). Creditors would receive 95% of the studio’s equity after it emerges from bankruptcy.

They have until October 22nd to vote on the plan, but with MGM’s largest creditors already voicing their support, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe it won’t be approved.

Spyglass and two of its subsidiaries would merge into MGM and control the remaining 5% of the company. Spyglass would also contribute fifteen of its titles (including The Sixth Sense, Bruce Almighty, and Seabiscuit) to MGM’s catalog of nearly 4,000 films.

But what does this arrangement mean for The Hobbit and Bond 23? Obviously those films are a high priority for MGM and a big part of helping them get back on their feet. After a string of box office disappointments, there’s no way they’re going to give up on two of their biggest brands.

So while it’s now a matter of when and not if we’ll see them made, there probably won’t be any sort of formal announcement on either project until December at the very earliest. While this certainly wasn’t the only road block facing The Hobbit, it was definitely the largest. Hopefully this is the first of many breaks Peter Jackson’s seemingly cursed adaptation is afforded.

the hobbit bond MGM Files for Bankruptcy; Spyglass Entertainment To Take Over

As for Bond, Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes indicated they would likely return once MGM was back on track and I hope that’s still the case. I’m dying to see what a Mendes directed/Peter Morgan scripted Bond film looks like.

The new MGM would aim for six major theatrical releases a year and also place a renewed interest in cable television – both scripted and reality programming. Interestingly, this strategy includes plans to turn several existing MGM films into TV shows. RoboCop, The Silence of the Lambs, and Dances with Wolves are all specifically mentioned.

Spyglass has an proven track record in Hollywood having co-financed hits like Star Trek, Wanted, Four Christmases, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.  So while MGM isn’t in the clear just yet, they at least appear to be in good hands with some light at the end of the tunnel.

Source: Deadline

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  1. RoboCop already had a life as a TV show. Twice.

    1988 animated kid’s show

    1994 live action produced in Canada

    “Ugh!” on both accounts.

    • Don’t forget about the awful Prime Directives mini-series. I don’t have high hopes for it. Seems like the budget would be considerable and ratings would have to be fairly high to justify it.

      The previous live-action show tried so hard to maintain the satire of Verhoeven’s original film but it never felt genuine. Honestly, I don’t think any of the titles mentioned would translate that well to television.

      • Any of these COULD be great. They probably won’t be, but that doesn’t mean that the right team couldn’t make something really special out of any of these properties.
        Television has produced some of the greatest character driven narratives ever in recent years. Let’s wait and see.
        None of these ideas have a “this can only be bad” vibe like say… a Pepe Le Pew movie development deal does. Who would be that stupid? Oh, wait…

        • I hate to be so dismissive right off the bat, but in the case of RoboCop I just don’t think anyone has handled that character correctly since the original film. That movie really had no right being as good as it was and although I’m not a die-hard Verhoeven fan he deserves the lion’s share of the credit for that. Darren Aronofsky’s take on the character? Sure, that piques my interest. Episodic television? Not so much. Can’t help it.

          With Silence of the Lambs- I just don’t get it. Variety indicates that bc they only have the rights to that title it can’t incorporate anything from the other books. With CSI, L&O, and so many other procedurals out there it’s just hard to be excited about another one. Hopefully it’d be more creative than just Clarice visiting Hannibal each week to get help catching that episode’s killer.

          You’re right- any adaptation in any medium has the chance to work. There have been successful movie to TV adaptations (Buffy, Stargate, Highlander, etc.) but the list of terrible ones is a lot longer.

          Guess I’m a glass half-empty sort of guy on this subject. =-)

    • I hope Spyglass will now that they have taken over MGM will allow along with SyFy SGA Extinction to be made and shown on SyFy Tv and then put on DVD. Alot of fans want Season 5 loose ends wrapped up.

      • I agree with you 100% we need an sga movie and while we are there we need a 3rd sg1 movie to!

  2. the bond franchise continuing is the most important thing to me.

  3. Hopefully the new Bond movie will be made soon – Casino Royale and Quantum Of Solace reinvigorated my interest in the series.
    It’s great to have the classical hard-working darker tough Bond of the early Fleming novels brought to life on the big screen, Craig is my personal favorite Bond for this reason so they have to keep making these films while he’s still in his prime; I’d like to see him in a few more 007 outings yet!

    • They make the SGA and SG1 movies even if just to put on DVD I would buy and watch. Then I would also be able to watch other shows and movies done by the New MGM.

  4. I agree and yes a third SG1 movie needs to be made also. They said SGA Extinction would be out this year then they started fudging and said next year.

  5. Within a recent interview on another site, Brad Wright said the ‘direct to dvd’ market is gone. As a result of a lack-luster market, both “SGA” and “SG1″ movies are on an indefinite hold. He doesn’t think they will be done.


    ““The only thing that is blocking the SG-1 movie or the Atlantis movie, the only thing, is the fact that the direct-to-DVD market has gone away,” Wright said. “We were very fortunate with Ark of Truth and Continuum to be among the last very successful direct-to-DVD releases before it all stopped happening. The market has changed, and it’s still changing, and it’s not what it was. And, of course, there have been very big changes at MGM that kind of added to that.”

    • I see on GateWorld Web site that they have a plan B to do the movies. If MGM will cooperate as well as Spyglass, and let it be made that would be great.

    • I hope MGM board of Directors use their brains and vote to merge with Spyglass since Spyglass is willing to bail them out and save them from all their creditors. And that MGM will listen to the fans and go along with Brad Wright’s plan B for SGA/SG1 movies. If they had had season 5 of SGA end a good way there would not be a problem.

  7. Then they could bring some of the actors from SGA like Joe Flanigan and the actor who played Todd the Wraith and finish they’re story on SGU. I think they were starting to pair Shepperd/Todd on the show and finish it on SGU that would get me interested in SGU.

  8. I hope MGM through Spyglass will go along with Brad Wright and Robert Cooper’s plan B to make the SGA/SG1 movies. There are alot of fans upset with MGM and Sci Fi. Now that Spyglass, if the people at MGM will use their heads and let Spyglass bail them out and merge with them especially do SGA Extinction to tie up the loose ends season 5 left undone. The fans would not be so upset.

  9. Spyglass has a memorable title sequence in movies. I don’t remember all their titles, but I tend to associate them with a decent production history. Hopefully they’ll be able to salvage MGM. It would be a shame to see the end of a legendary studio.

  10. “…includes plans to turn several existing MGM films into TV shows. RoboCop, The Silence of the Lambs, and Dances with Wolves are all specifically mentioned.”

    Funny—all three pix did NOT originate with MGM. All three were part of the Orion film library which was bought by MGM when Orion went under.

    As for the shows themselves…I have no problem dusting off a new RoboCop series, but while I wasn’t a big supporter of the long hoped for (and now defunct) remake plan, it’s worth a roll of the dice…but as pointed out the previous TV series and the TV films weren’t all that great. I agree RoboCop could -and should- be relaunched in some way.

    Silence series? Might be tricky. However, it would focus more on Clarice Starling than Hannibal Lecter.

    The best of the three is, hands down, Dance with Wolves, I am 100% for that. You could do things with that, TV series or miniseries or feature…BUT I would like to see them go “The Holy Road” (Michael Blake’s sequel novel) or not do it at all.

    Instead, how ‘ bout “Quiqley Down Under”? Heck, have the Western series with two of the original cast members if you want -Tom Selleck and Laura San Giocomo! Why not?

    Okay…I’ll stop now…

    Moving on…

    I’m not worried about Hobbit. If they need, they can give the rights over to Wienstiens or WB/NewLine and be done with it. I’m not worried about Bond. I’m pretty sure it will be high priority on the slate. I’m not worried about the REd Dawn remake. It’s in the can. They will either release it theatrically or slip it DTV.

  11. Well hopefully this will help get the ball rolling on not only the Hobbit and James Bond but also the already filmed RED DAWN.
    Enough with all the delays.

  12. I agree it would be a shame.

  13. MGM could also help in helping pay off creditors if they were to sell at a reasonable price their property rights to SGA to another network or someone indepentent that way The movie could be made.

  14. I’m a friend of Stephanie Striegal & the late Dennis Farina. We had a contract involving a book I wrote about the Chicago police & mob. “PAY, QUIT or DIE,” I have a treatment, “Edge of the Shadows” which episodes were taken from my book of true stories. They showcase the dramatic and often humorous exploits of two veteran cops pursuing and catching criminals during off duty hours on the mean streets of Chicago. Having been dumped into the records division because of their overly aggressive and apparently
    out of date style of crime busting. They decide to begin a 2nd career donning various disguises to hide their true identities or they would lose
    their stars and pensions if their bosses knew about their off duty activities.