MGM Bankrupt! What Does This Mean for The Hobbit and Bond 23?
Posted 10.09.10 by BrentJS
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (MGM), which has been struggling to keep itself afloat for over a year now under the weight of massive debts to multiple lenders, announced on Thursday that the company "intends to commence pre-packaged Chapter 11 cases under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code." MGM has begun to solicit votes from its lenders to convert the debt into equity following its emergence from Chapter 11 and restructure the company with Spyglass Entertainment partners Gary Barber and Richard Birnbaum as its new chairmen/CEOs.
The big question for movie fans is: How does MGM filing Chapter 11 affect plans for The Hobbit and James Bond 23?
The Hobbit co-writer and producer Peter Jackson announced less than two weeks ago that MGM and its partners were "close to greenlighting" the planned two-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy. However, in a statement made to Empire the day after MGM's announcement, he did not sound very optimistic about The Hobbit's future, saying that it was about to go "into bankruptcy hell."
We’ve seen these reports before, reports saying there was going to be a greenlight in a couple of days — well, a week’s gone by and there isn't one. You can't believe everything you read. There is only one thing you want to believe and that’s when the studio announces a greenlight. As far as I'm aware that’s not going to be today. I keep hearing positive things. Everyone's working very hard.... MGM is a company that is about to go bankrupt and in a way they are about to take The Hobbit into bankruptcy hell with them when they go down. Warners are trying to extract The Hobbit out of the bankruptcy hell before it happens. It is just so complicated I can't even put my head into it. It’s all to do with American copyright laws, bankruptcy laws. A lot of Warner Bros. lawyers are working round the clock at the moment trying to make it happen so let’s see.
Jackson went on to say that, impending bankruptcy aside, he's "certainly happy to be involved" with The Hobbit. He said that he's learned that he should not "commit emotionally" to a project or get too "excited until something is greenlit."
At that point, once you've done that and it doesn't happen, it’s the most horrible thing in the world outside of stuff do with your family. It’s the worst experience ever, to have a film fall over that you've committed 100% to. I always just protect myself and don't fully commit until I know for sure that it’s happening. Then it gets my 100% commitment.
Regarding the future of the James Bond franchise, Eon Productions producer David G. Wilson told IGN that he is optimistic that Bond 23 will still happen.
They have a plan going forward, and hopefully everything will go to plan and we hope to be in a position next year to start the film again.
Wilson said that work on the movie's script "has been halted," and confirmed for the first time that director Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road) is attached to direct. That is, assuming the movie emerges from Chapter 11 unscathed and Mendes hasn't moved on to other projects by then.
He's a hot director, and there's a danger he would have to go and work on something else so we have to be patient and optimistic.