Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #591: What Is Your Intent?

Welcome to the show folks...

It looks like it's finally going to happen. Spyglass Entertainment is inching closer to taking over management of the mortally moribund MGM. They've filed a letter of intent declaring their intentions to get the bondholders to trade the company's $4 billion debt in exchange for ownership, and are even looking at recruiting a new Chief Operating Officer.

While I would like to see MGM be reborn, I have misgivings about this whole plan. My chief misgiving is Spyglass's intent to drop the company's marketing and distribution arms, and to go forward with MGM as just a production company.

Here's my message to Spyglass Entertainment.






Can you guess how I feel about this plan?

Spyglass is already a production company. It's apparently very good at it because it's been around a long time.

So why does it want to manage just another
production company?

The ability to put movies on screens is pure power in Hollywood. Like I always said, any idiot with money can make a movie, but only a real studio can distribute a movie properly.

To give that up threatens to cast MGM deeper into the outer darkness where it's been for the past 20 years.

Imagine this scenario.

The Spyglass managed MGM inks a deal for all their movies to be distributed by Paramount, which has a good relationship with Spyglass.

At first it works great, The Hobbit, and the next James Bond movie do really well for both.

But will Paramount burn as many calories in the field of marketing and distribution for something that isn't a guaranteed cash cow like those franchises?

Will Paramount burn many calories distributing and promoting an MGM film that may directly compete with a movie made by Paramount?

The answer to both those questions is no.

Sure Spyglass can raise hell, but it's an inevitability. It could get even worse if there's a change in management at Paramount to one that is less accommodating to Spyglass Entertainment and MGM.

Which brings me to my conclusion. Spyglass should save MGM, it needs saving, and I think, if run right, it could be worth saving. However, giving up the power that distribution gives you, in order to exist at the whim of another studio is just plain cinematice suicide.

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