Friday, 24 July 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #333: MGM, Relativity, & 2 Combating Columnists!

The Wrap's Sharon Waxman poo-pooed Nikki Finke for poo-pooing The Wrap's story about a plot by Relativity Media to take over MGM by buying up their debt, forcing the semi-moribund studio into bankruptcy, then taking it over, sweeping out the old management, putting in some new folks, and remaking the studio in their image.

Sharon Waxman says yes, and has what is alleged to be samples from a Relativity presentation called "Project Smith." The presentation illustrates a plan to take over an unnamed studio code-named "Smith" and by the way, Studio Smith, just happens to have the James Bond franchise.

Nikki Finke says that her sources say that Relativity is planning some other deal with the debt, possibly selling it at a profit at a future date when the general economy, and the studio are on a surer footing.

I'm not sure who to believe.

So let's look at the evidence:

Relativity recently dipped its toe in MGM's pond by co-producing the remake of
The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3.

The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 lost a lot of money for Relativity, Columbia, and MGM, ouch.

Relativity has a very close relationship with Universal Pictures.

However, that relationship can't all that hot right now, especially after the bath both companies took with the movie
Land of the Lost, and Relativity's rather odd decision to buy Universal's former "B-Movie" division Rogue Pictures and turn it into some sort of "lifestyle brand."

So this could go either way. The Project Smith papers could merely be a trial balloon by some executives at Relativity that got leaked, or it could be a real plan of action. The real trick is if Relativity and its backers have the hard cash to take over MGM, and make it an active company without amassing the sort of crippling debt that's kept the company from being more than just a bare bones distributor and a film library.

In the case of Waxman vs Finke, I only have one solution to prove who is right:


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