Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #535: The Lion Needs To Be Furious!

Welcome to the show folks....

Poor old MGM is currently looking for a new Chief Executive Officer to replace the recently shit-canned departed Harry Sloan. The problem is that none of the usual suspects are biting this bait.

So, let's take a look at the pros and cons of taking this job.


THE MGM LIBRARY- It's really big, and it contains: (according to Wikipedia)
  • Nearly all of its own post-1986 library;
  • Most of the post-1952 United Artists catalog (although it also includes a tiny fraction of pre-1952 UA material);
  • The post-1981 Orion Pictures film and television library
  • The Filmways library (except The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction);
  • The American International Pictures library (except early films);
  • The Heatter-Quigley Productions library;
  • The pre-1997 Samuel Goldwyn Company library;
  • The pre-1996 Motion Picture Corporation of America library (excluding co-productions with other studios such as Dumb and Dumber with New Line Cinema);
  • In regards to the 1991 film version of The Addams Family, MGM only owns the international rights, as Orion had sold North American rights to Paramount Pictures due to Orion's bankruptcy
  • The theatrical rights to most of the ITV Global Entertainment catalog, including their inherited Granada International and ITC Entertainment (The Return of the Pink Panther, Capricorn One, On Golden Pond, etc.) libraries;
  • Most of the Cannon Films library (King Solomon's Mines, That Championship Season, etc., with a few exceptions, including certain films distributed by Warner Bros., the television rights to Lifeforce—those stand with Sony Pictures Television, and most territorial rights to Surrender and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace);
  • Most of the pre-1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library, which include international rights to most of the Interscope Communications co-productions with The Walt Disney Company, who handles U.S. rights.
  • Selected Nelson Entertainment properties (including the pre-Turner-merger Castle Rock Entertainment library with the exception of co-productions with Columbia Pictures), and Embassy Pictures properties, under license from StudioCanal (with the exception of two films co-produced and co-distributed by Columbia);
  • The Epic Productions library:
  • Those of other smaller defunct studios, including Atlantic Releasing Corporation, Scotti Bros. Pictures and Hemdale Film Corporation.
  • The home video rights to It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, under license from NBC.
  • MGM also has the international theatrical and DVD rights (in certain territories) to Army of Darkness, which was released in the US by Universal Pictures , who has domestic theatrical and DVD rights.
Also, the home video division is pretty good at getting their films out into stores at reasonable prices. Probably the most reliable earner in the company.

2. FRANCHISE PROPERTIES- MGM also owns the movie rights to the James Bond character, and JRR Tolkien's
The Hobbit, both fairly copper-bottomed and eagerly anticipated movie franchises.

3. IMPORTANT BRAND- The name Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer practically encapsulates glamor, fame and Hollywood movie history into 3 simple initials.

Now let's look at the


1. MONEY- It ain't got no money! In fact, it has over $4 billion in debt. That's $4,000,000,000 if you like lots of zeros. That's officially gone beyond a shit-load of debt into the nether regions from whence few ever return without some sort of miracle. This debt is the net result of 40+ years being passed around like the corporate equivalent of a doobie at a party.

The Hobbit, but they don't have the money to actually make them into money-making movies.

3. THE MGM LIBRARY- Most of the "Golden Age" MGM and United Artists movies are currently owned by Time-Warner. That leave a huge and important gap in the company's history/library.

4. THE IMPORTANT BRAND- The MGM brand not only encapsulates history, it is history. Tack it onto something new, and you've automatically branded it a loser. It's only good at one thing, and that's selling old movies.

5. MONEY- Don't forget about the $4,000,000,000 in debt.

Now there is only one man brave enough, egomaniac enough, and just plain bug-shit crazy enough to take on this impossible task. That simple fact means that the powers that be must...
That's right, as the new generalissimo CEO of MGM I will not claim to be tough but fair. I will be brutal, and incredibly unfair, but that's what needed. I've said some of this before, but what the hell, I'll say it again.

1. As the company's despot CEO, my first act will be to sell the MGM name. I'm sure Warner Bros. would be interested, not only because they own the pre-1986 MGM library, but it gives them a familiar brand name for the inevitable time when they flush Ted Turner's name down the corporate memory hole. You can re-brand the company United Artists or one of the dozen other names in the company's arsenal.

2. Sort out the debt. Right now, these forebearances and other schemes, are just keeping the company in a coma. They need to trade the debt for some sort of ownership right after naming me shogun CEO.

3. Find partners. Fox and several others are keen to keep MGM an independent film company. Fox especially, because they have the foreign and home video distribution rights to MGM's product. As tyrant CEO, I will make such friends, and use their money to get MGM's heart pumping on its own again. Bond and The Hobbit have to get out there making money if the company's going to eventually get out of debt and be able to pay my immense salary and perk package.

4. Keep costs down. There's a rumored $50 million budget for Hot Tub Time Machine? How the hell did that happen? I suggest that someone find out quick, because as dictator CEO I won't be playing that way.

So I hope the powers that be realize that since they've tried the best, and were turned down, it's time they tried the rest, and call me. I'll do it for 3/4 the salary of the average studio CEO, a piece of the profit action, and some other luxurious office perks that we can all negotiate later. I'm not greedy... okay, I am greedy, but I'm not crazy greedy. Which makes me the best buy you can get, because I can't make it any worse, and that's a guarantee.


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