There has been increased speculation in recent days about the fate of beleaguered MGM. Especially as the debt ridden studio eyes another forbearance date to avoid bankruptcy and highly anticipated films such as “The Hobbit” and the next James Bond flick are in limbo until the financial mess can be resolved. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal today, that drama may finally be resolving itself.
Spyglass Entertainment is nearing a deal to run MGM after the studio restructures approximately $4 billion in debt later this summer. This is a coup for Spyglass heads Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum who have beaten rivals from Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment to merge or acquire the studio. Warner Bros. was considered the only other serious bidder, but their offer for the venerable lion was considerably less than what MGM’s debt holders were looking for.
The report indicates Barber and Birnbaum would run MGM as co-chief executives and that Spyglass would merge parts of its film library with MGM’s. The duo would also receive 4% of the new company that would be valued, in MGM’s view, at around $1.9 billion. Most importantly, creditors would forgive all of MGM’s massive debt.
What will happen to the studios current Film and TV operations is unclear. Will Spyglass keep talented studio head Mary Parent and the rebuilt marketing and distribution team that had the opportunity to work on just two films (“Valkyrie” and “Hot Tub Time Machine”) before the floor caved in? Or, do they make a deal with 20th Century Fox or another studio to market and distribute the new MGM films? Also, how soon will completed pictures “Red Dawn” and “The Cabin in the Woods” make it to theaters?
On the TV side, it’s hard to imagine Spyglass disrupting the status quo as the small television division has a cash cow with the long running “Stargate” franchise still chugging along.
As for moviegoers, this likely means Spyglass will quickly move forward with working out the co-financing on Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” and that a new James Bond film will be in production as early as next year. It’s worth noting the 50th Anniversary of the first James Bond film, “Dr. No,” is in 2012.
More details on this story as they become available on HitFix.