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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures or MGM) is an American media company, founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and television programs. It is based in
Beverly Hills, California Beverly Hills is a city in . Located within and surrounded by the cities of and , it had a population of 34,109 at the and an estimated population of 33,792 in 2019. The city is home to many celebrities, luxury hotels, and the shopping dist ...
. MGM was formed by
Marcus Loew Marcus Loew (May 7, 1870 – September 5, 1927) was an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteristi ...
by combining
Metro Pictures Metro Pictures Corporation was a Film, motion picture production company founded in early 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The company produced its films in New York, Los Angeles, and sometimes at lease ...
,
Goldwyn Pictures Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company that operated from 1916 to 1924 when it was merged with two other production companies to form the major studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio ...
, and
Louis B. Mayer Pictures Louis B. Mayer Pictures or Louis B. Mayer Productions was an American film production company of the silent era which operated from 1918 until 1924. Founded by the New England-based theater owner Louis B. Mayer, it functioned as a high-class produce ...
into a single company. It hired a number of well known actors as contract players—its slogan was "more stars than there are in heaven"—and soon became one of Hollywood's "big five" film studios, producing popular movie musicals and winning many Oscars. The company also owned film studios, movie lots, movie theaters and technical production facilities. Its most prosperous era, from 1926 to 1959, was bracketed by two productions of '' Ben Hur''. After that, it divested itself of the Loews movie theater chain, and, in the 1960s, it diversified into television production. In 1969,
Kirk Kerkorian Kerkor "Kirk" Kerkorian (; June 6, 1917 – June 15, 2015) was an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was the president and CEO of Tracinda Corporation, his private holding company based in Beverly Hills, California. Kerk ...

Kirk Kerkorian
bought 40% of MGM, hired new management, reduced its output to about five movies per year, and diversified its products, creating
MGM Resorts International MGM Resorts International is an American global hospitality File:De Stratford Coat of Arms.jpeg, Trestles in the medieval House of Stratford coat of arms: The Trestle#heraldry, trestle (also ''tressle, tressel'' and ''threstle'') in heraldry is ...
and, in 1973, a
Las Vegas Las Vegas (; for "The Meadows"), often known simply as Vegas, is the in the United States, the most populous city in the of , and the of . The city anchors the metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater . Las Vegas is ...
-based hotel and casino company (which it divested in the 1980s). In 1980, it acquired
United Artists United Artists Corporation (UA), currently doing business as United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April ...
. In 1986, Kerkorian sold the entire company to
Ted Turner Robert Edward Turner III (born November 19, 1938) is an American media proprietor, producer, and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the Cable News Network (CNN), the first 24-hour United States cable news, cable news ch ...

Ted Turner
. Turner soon sold most of it back to Kerkorian who then sold it again in 1992, only to buy it again a third time in 1996. After that he expanded MGM by purchasing
Orion Pictures Orion Pictures, legal name Orion Releasing LLC, is an American motion picture producer owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In its original operating period, the company produced and released films from 1978 until 1999 and was also involved in telev ...
and
the Samuel Goldwyn Company The Samuel Goldwyn Company was an American independent film An independent film, independent movie, indie film, or indie movie is a feature film or short film that is produced outside the major film studio system, in addition to being produc ...
, including both of their film libraries. Finally, in 2004, Kerkorian sold the company to a consortium that included
Sony Pictures Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Sony Pictures or SPE, and formerly known as Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc.) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment studio conglomerate Conglomerate or congl ...
. In 2010, MGM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization. Later that year, after reorganization, MGM emerged from bankruptcy under the ownership of its creditors. Two former executives at
Spyglass Entertainment Spyglass Media Group, LLC, formerly Spyglass Entertainment, is an American film production company founded by Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum in 1998. History Spyglass Entertainment In August 1998, Gary Barber, former vice chairman and COO of Morg ...
,
Gary Barber Gary Barber (born 1957) is a South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million people, it is the world's List of countri ...
and
Roger Birnbaum Roger Birnbaum (born November 14, 1950) is an American film producer who owns the company Spyglass Entertainment, and was co-CEO and co-chairman of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. His two greatest box office hits as producer have been ''Rush Hour 2'' and ''T ...
, became co-chairmen and co-CEOs of MGM's new holding company. In 2020, with Barber having left MGM, it began looking to be acquired by another company in order to pay its creditors. On May 26, 2021,
Amazon Amazon usually refers to: * Amazons In Greek mythology, the Amazons (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαζόνες ''Amazónes'', singular Ἀμαζών ''Amazōn'') are portrayed in a number of ancient Greek, ancient epic poems and legends, such as the ...
announced that it intended to buy MGM for $8.45 billion, but no date was set for closing the sale. In the present day, MGM is still producing and distributing feature films and television series. Its major film productions include the popular ''Rocky'' and ''James Bond'' franchises, and among its recent television productions is the very successful series, ''
The Handmaid's Tale ''The Handmaid's Tale'' is a dystopian novel Utopian and dystopian fiction are genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over t ...
''.


Overview

MGM was the last studio to convert to sound pictures, but in spite of this fact, from the end of the
silent film era A silent film is a film with no synchronized Sound recording and reproduction, recorded sound (and in particular, no audible dialogue). In silent films for entertainment, the plot may be conveyed by the use of intertitle, title cards, written in ...

silent film era
through the late 1950s, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the dominant motion picture studio in Hollywood. Always slow to respond to the changing legal, economic, and demographic nature of the motion picture industry during the 1950s and 1960s, and although at times its films did well at the box office, the studio lost significant amounts of money throughout the 1960s. In 1966, MGM was sold to Canadian investor Edgar Bronfman Sr., whose son Edgar Jr. would later buy
Universal Studios Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an int ...

Universal Studios
. Three years later, an increasingly unprofitable MGM was bought by
Kirk Kerkorian Kerkor "Kirk" Kerkorian (; June 6, 1917 – June 15, 2015) was an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was the president and CEO of Tracinda Corporation, his private holding company based in Beverly Hills, California. Kerk ...

Kirk Kerkorian
, who slashed staff and production costs, forced the studio to produce low-quality, low-budget fare, and then ceased theatrical distribution in 1973. The studio continued to produce five to six films a year that were distributed through other studios, usually
United Artists United Artists Corporation (UA), currently doing business as United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April ...
. Kerkorian did, however, commit to increased production and an expanded film library when he bought
United Artists United Artists Corporation (UA), currently doing business as United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April ...
in 1981. MGM ramped up internal production, as well as keeping production going at UA, which included the lucrative
James Bond The ''James Bond'' series focuses on a fictional Secret Intelligence Service, British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short-story collections. Since Fleming's death in 1964 ...
film franchise. It also incurred significant amounts of debt to increase production. The studio took on additional debt as a series of owners took charge in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1986,
Ted Turner Robert Edward Turner III (born November 19, 1938) is an American media proprietor, producer, and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the Cable News Network (CNN), the first 24-hour United States cable news, cable news ch ...

Ted Turner
bought MGM, but a few months later, sold the company back to Kerkorian to recoup massive debt, while keeping the library assets for himself. The series of deals left MGM even more heavily in debt. MGM was bought by Pathé Communications (led by Italian publishing magnate
Giancarlo Parretti Giancarlo Parretti (born 23 October 1941) is an Italian financier. In 1989, he took over Cannon Film Group Inc. from Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Almost immediately, he made plans to take over the storied French studio Pathé, and changed ...
) in 1990, but Parretti lost control of Pathé and defaulted on the loans used to purchase the studio. The French banking conglomerate Crédit Lyonnais, the studio's major creditor, then took control of MGM. Even more deeply in debt, MGM was purchased by a joint venture between Kerkorian, producer Frank Mancuso, and Australia's
Seven Network The Seven Network (commonly known as Channel Seven or simply Seven) is a major Australian commercial free-to-air Television broadcasting in Australia, television network. It is owned by Seven West Media, Seven West Media Limited, and is one ...
in 1996. The debt load from these and subsequent business deals negatively affected MGM's ability to survive as a separate motion picture studio. After a bidding war which included
Time Warner Warner Media, LLC ( traded as WarnerMedia, but stylized as WarnerMedia; formerly known as Time Warner from 1990 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2018; from 2001 to 2003, AOL Time Warner and from 1972 to 1990, Warner Communications) is an America ...
(the current parent of Turner Broadcasting) and
General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American Multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate incorporated in New York State and headquartered in Boston. Until 2021, the company operated through GE Aviation, aviat ...
(the owners of the
NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), co ...
television network at the time), MGM was acquired on September 23, 2004, by a partnership consisting of
Sony Corporation of America Sony Corporation of America (SONAM), based in New York City, is a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony, Sony Group Corporation. It serves as the company's US headquarters, and manages the company's US-based businesses. Sony's principal ...
,
Comcast Comcast Corporation (formerly known as American Cable Systems and Comcast Holdings)Before the AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in mult ...
,
Texas Pacific Group TPG Capital, previously known as Texas Pacific Group, is an American investment company An investment company is a financial institution principally engaged in investing in securities. These companies in the United States are regulated by the ...
(now TPG Capital, L.P.),
Providence Equity Partners Providence Equity Partners L.L.C. is an American global private equity Private equity (PE) typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that buy and restructure companies that are not publicly traded. P ...
, and other investors. After its bankruptcy in 2010, MGM reorganized, with its creditors' $4 billion debt transferred to ownership. MGM's creditors control MGM through MGM Holdings, a private company. New management of its film and television production divisions was installed. The creditors have since contracted Morgan Stanley and LionTree Advisors to explore a sale.


History


Founding and early years

In 1924, movie theater magnate
Marcus Loew Marcus Loew (May 7, 1870 – September 5, 1927) was an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteristi ...
had a problem: He had bought
Metro Pictures Corporation Metro Pictures Corporation was a Film, motion picture production company founded in early 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The company produced its films in New York, Los Angeles, and sometimes at lease ...
in 1919 for $3 million, to provide a steady supply of films for his large Loew's Theatres chain. However, he found that his new property only provided a lackluster assortment of films. Seeking to solve this problem, Loew purchased
Goldwyn Pictures Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion picture production company that operated from 1916 to 1924 when it was merged with two other production companies to form the major studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio ...
in 1924 for $5 million to improve the quality of the theatres' products. However, these purchases created a need for someone to oversee his new Hollywood operations, since longtime assistant
Nicholas Schenck Nicholas M. Schenck (14 November 1880, Rybinsk, Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, ...
was needed in New York headquarters to oversee the 150 theaters. Approached by Louis B. Mayer, Loew addressed the situation by buying Louis B. Mayer Pictures for $75,000. Loews Incorporated completed the merger of the Loews theater chain, Metro's distribution network, Goldwyn Pictures studio and Louis B. Mayer Productions on April 17, 1924, celebrated with a fete on April 26, 1924. Mayer became head of the renamed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with 24-year-old
Irving Thalberg Irving Grant Thalberg (May 30, 1899 – September 14, 1936) was an American film producer during the early years of motion pictures. He was called "The Boy Wonder" for his youth and ability to select scripts, choose actors, gather production ...

Irving Thalberg
as head of production. Final approval over budgets and contracts rested with New York City-based Loews Inc., while production decisions rested with the production headquarters in Culver City. MGM produced more than 100 feature films in its first two years. In 1925, MGM released the extravagant and successful '' Ben-Hur'', taking a $4.7 million profit that year, its first full year. Also in 1925, MGM,
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Paramount Pictures
and
UFA is a city in Russia, the capital of the . UFA or Ufa may also refer to: Places *, a river in Russia; a tributary of the Belaya *, an airport in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia *, a town in of Ethiopia *Ufa Urban Okrug, a municipal for ...
formed a joint German distributor,
ParufametParufamet was the name of the Germany distribution company founded between the American film studios Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (commonly known as Paramount Pictures, or simply Paramount) is an American film production c ...
. Marcus Loew died in 1927, and control of Loew's passed to Nicholas Schenck. In 1929, William Fox of
Fox Film Corporation The Fox Film Corporation (also known as Fox Studios) was an American Independent company that produced motion pictures A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art f ...

Fox Film Corporation
bought the Loew family's holdings with Schenck's assent. Mayer and Thalberg disagreed with the decision. Mayer was active in the
California Republican Party The California Republican Party (CAGOP) is the affiliate of the United States Republican Party in the U.S. state of California. The party is based in Sacramento ) , image_map = Sacramento County California Incorporate ...
and used his political connections to persuade the Justice Department to delay final approval of the deal on
antitrust Competition law is a law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environmen ...
grounds. During this time, in the summer of 1929, Fox was badly hurt in an automobile accident. By the time he recovered, the
stock market crash A stock market crash is a sudden dramatic decline of stock prices across a major cross-section of a stock market, resulting in a significant loss of paper wealth. Crashes are driven by panic selling and underlying economic factors. They often foll ...
in the fall of 1929 had nearly wiped Fox out and ended any chance of the Loew's merger going through. Schenck and Mayer had never gotten along (Mayer reportedly referred to his boss as "Mr. Skunk"), and the abortive Fox merger increased the animosity between the two men.


1920s and 1930s

From the outset, MGM tapped into the audience's need for glamor and sophistication. Having inherited few big names from their predecessor companies, Mayer and Thalberg began at once to create and publicize a host of new stars, among them
Greta Garbo Greta Garbo (born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson; 18 September 1905 – 15 April 1990) was a Swedish-American actress. She was known for her melancholic, somber persona due to her many film portrayals of tragedy, tragic characters and for her subtle an ...

Greta Garbo
, John Gilbert,
William Haines Charles William Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973) was an American actor and interior designer. Haines was discovered by a talent scout and signed with Goldwyn Pictures Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was an American motion pic ...

William Haines
,
Joan Crawford Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur; March 23, 190? – May 10, 1977) was an American film and television actress who began her career as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting as a chorus girl on Broadway theatre, Broad ...

Joan Crawford
, and
Norma Shearer Edith Norma Shearer (August 10, 1902June 12, 1983) was a Canadian-American actress who was active on film from 1919 through 1942. Shearer often played spunky, sexually liberated ingénues. She appeared in adaptations of Noël Coward, Eugene O' ...

Norma Shearer
(who followed Thalberg from Universal). Established names like
Lon Chaney Leonidas Frank "Lon" Chaney (April 1, 1883 – August 26, 1930) was an American stage and film actor, make-up artist, director and screenwriter. He is regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors of cinema, renowned for hi ...

Lon Chaney
,
William Powell William Horatio Powell (July 29, 1892 – March 5, 1984) was an American actor. A major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, initialized as MGM; often referred to as Met ...
,
Buster Keaton Joseph Frank Keaton (October 4, 1895 – February 1, 1966), known professionally as Buster Keaton, was an Americans, American actor, comedian, film director, producer, screenwriter, and stunt performer. He is best known for his silent films, in w ...

Buster Keaton
, and
Wallace Beery Wallace Fitzgerald Beery (April 1, 1885 – April 15, 1949) was an American film and stage actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in '' Min and Bill'' (1930) opposite Marie Dressler, as Long John Silver in ''Treasure Island (1934 film) ...
were hired from other studios. They also hired top directors such as
King Vidor King Wallis Vidor (; February 8, 1894 – November 1, 1982) was an American film director, film producer, and screenwriter whose 67-year film-making career successfully spanned the silent and sound eras. His works are distinguished by a vivid, ...
,
Clarence Brown Clarence Leon Brown (May 10, 1890 – August 17, 1987) was an American film director. Early life Born in Clinton, Massachusetts, to Larkin Harry Brown (1866–1942), a cotton manufacturer, and Katherine Ann Brown (née Gaw; 1865–1954), Brown ...

Clarence Brown
,
Erich von Stroheim Erich Oswald Hans Carl Maria von Stroheim (born Erich Oswald Stroheim; September 22, 1885 – May 12, 1957) was an Austrian-American director, actor and producer, most noted as a film star and avant-garde, visionary director of the silent era. H ...
,
Tod Browning Tod Browning (born Charles Albert Browning Jr.; July 12, 1880 – October 6, 1962) was an American film director, film actor, screenwriter, vaudeville Vaudeville (; ) is a of born in France at the end of the 19th century. A vaudeville was ...
, and Victor Seastrom. The arrival of talking pictures in 1928–29 gave opportunities to other new stars, many of whom would carry MGM through the 1930s:
Clark Gable William Clark Gable (February 1, 1901November 16, 1960) was an American film actor, often referred to as "The King of Hollywood". He had roles in more than 60 motion pictures in multiple genres during a career that lasted 37 years, three decades ...

Clark Gable
,
Jean Harlow Jean Harlow (born Harlean Harlow Carpenter; March 3, 1911 – June 7, 1937) was an American actress and sex symbol A sex symbol is a celebrity or Character (arts), fictional character widely considered to be Sexual attraction, sexually ...
,
Robert MontgomeryRobert Montgomery or Bob Montgomery may refer to: Entertainment * Robert Montgomery (poet) (1807–1855), English poet and minister * Robert Montgomery (actor) (1904–1981), American actor and director * Robert Douglass Montgomery (1909–1966), A ...
,
Spencer Tracy Spencer Bonaventure Tracy (April 5, 1900 – June 10, 1967) was an American actor, known for his natural performing style and versatility. One of the major stars of Classical Hollywood cinema, Hollywood's Golden Age, Tracy won two consecut ...

Spencer Tracy
,
Myrna Loy Myrna Loy (born Myrna Adele Williams; August 2, 1905 – December 14, 1993) was an American film, television and stage actress. Trained as a dancer, Loy devoted herself fully to an acting career following a few minor roles in silent film ...

Myrna Loy
,
Jeanette MacDonald Jeanette Anna MacDonald (June 18, 1903 – January 14, 1965) was an American singer and actress best remembered for her musical films of the 1930s with Maurice Chevalier ('' The Love Parade'', '' Love Me Tonight'', '' The Merry Widow'' and ''O ...
, and
Nelson Eddy Nelson Ackerman Eddy (June 29, 1901 – March 6, 1967) was an American singer, baritone and actor who appeared in 19 musical films during the 1930s and 1940s, as well as in opera and on the concert stage, radio, television, and in nightclubs ...
among them. MGM was one of the first studios to experiment with filming in
Technicolor Technicolor is a series of color motion picture processes, the first version dating to 1916, and followed by improved versions over several decades. It was the second major color process, after Britain's Kinemacolor Kinemacolor was the firs ...

Technicolor
. Using the two-color Technicolor process then available, MGM filmed portions of '' The Uninvited Guest'' (Metro, 1924), ''
The Big Parade ''The Big Parade'' is a 1925 American silent film, silent war film, war drama (film and television), drama film directed by King Vidor, starring John Gilbert (actor), John Gilbert, Renée Adorée, Hobart Bosworth, Tom O'Brien (actor, born 1890) ...
'' (1925), and ''Ben–Hur'' (1925), among others, in the process. MGM released '' The Viking'' (1928), the first complete Technicolor feature with a synchronized score and sound effects, but no spoken dialogue. With the arrival of "
talkies A sound film is a motion picture with synchronized sound, or sound technologically coupled to image, as opposed to a silent film A silent film is a film with no synchronized Sound recording and reproduction, recorded sound (and in particular ...
", MGM moved slowly and reluctantly into the sound era, releasing features like ''
White Shadows in the South Seas ''White Shadows in the South Seas'' is a 1928 American silent film A silent film is a film with no synchronized Sound recording and reproduction, recorded sound (and in particular, no audible dialogue). In silent films for entertainment, the p ...
'' (1928) with music and sound effects, and '' Alias Jimmy Valentine'' (1928) with limited dialogue sequences. Their first full-fledged talkie, the musical ''
The Broadway Melody ''The Broadway Melody'', also known as ''The Broadway Melody of 1929'', is a 1929 American Pre-Code Hollywood, pre-Code musical film and the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It was one of the first musicals to feature ...
'' (1929), however, was both a box-office success and won the
Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking F ...
as Best Picture of the Year. MGM, was the last major studio to convert to sound. Its first all-color, "all-talking" sound feature with dialogue was the musical ''
The Rogue Song ''The Rogue Song'' is a 1930 romantic and musical film that tells the story of a Russian bandit who falls in love with a princess, but takes his revenge on her when her brother rapes and kills his sister. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production was di ...
'' in 1930. MGM included a sequence made in Technicolor's superior new three-color process, a musical number in the otherwise black-and-white '' The Cat and the Fiddle'' (1934), starring Jeanette MacDonald and
Ramon Novarro José Ramón Gil Samaniego (February 6, 1899 – October 30, 1968), known professionally as Ramon Novarro, was a Mexican-American Mexican Americans ( es, mexicano-estadounidenses or ) are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of ...

Ramon Novarro
. The studio then produced a number of three-color short subjects including the musical '' La Fiesta de Santa Barbara'' (1935); their first complete feature in the process was '' Sweethearts'' (1938) with MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, the earlier of the popular singing team's two films in color. From then on, MGM regularly produced several films a year in Technicolor with ''
Northwest Passage The Northwest Passage (NWP) is the Sea lane, sea route between the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archi ...
'' being one of the most notable. In addition to a large short-subjects program of its own, MGM also released the shorts and features produced by
Hal Roach Studios Hal Roach Studios was an American motion picture and television production studio. Known as ''The Laugh Factory to the World'', it was founded by producer Hal Roach and business partners Dan Linthicum and I.H. Nance as the Rolin Film Company on Jul ...
, including comedy shorts starring
Laurel and Hardy Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo A double act (also known as a comedy duo) is a form of comedy originating in the British music hall tradition, and American vaudeville, in which two comedians perform together as a single act. Pairings are ...

Laurel and Hardy
,
Our Gang ''Our Gang'' (also known as ''The Little Rascals'' or ''Hal Roach's Rascals'') is an American series of comedy Comedy (from the el, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended ...
and
Charley Chase Charles Joseph Parrott (October 20, 1893 – June 20, 1940), known professionally as Charley Chase, was an American comedian, actor, screenwriter and film director best known for his work in Hal Roach short film Comedy film, comedies. He was th ...
. MGM's distribution deal with Roach lasted from 1927 to 1938, and MGM benefited in particular from the success of the popular Laurel and Hardy films. In 1938, MGM purchased the rights to the Our Gang series and moved the production in-house, continuing production of the successful series of children's comedies until 1944. From 1929 to 1931, MGM produced a series of comedy shorts called '' All Barkie Dogville Comedies'', in which trained dogs were dressed up to parody contemporary films and were voiced by actors. One of the shorts, ''The Dogway Melody'' (1930), spoofed MGM's hit 1929 musical ''
The Broadway Melody ''The Broadway Melody'', also known as ''The Broadway Melody of 1929'', is a 1929 American Pre-Code Hollywood, pre-Code musical film and the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It was one of the first musicals to feature ...
''. MGM entered the music industry by purchasing the "Big Three" starting with Miller Music Publishing Co. in 1934 then Robbins Music Corporation. In 1935, MGM acquired a controlling interest in the capital stock of Leo Feist, Inc., the last of the "Big Three". During the first musical craze of 1928–1930, a custom MGM label was created by
Columbia Columbia may refer to: * Columbia (personification), the historical female national personification of the United States, and a poetic name for the Americas Places North America Natural features * Columbia Plateau, a geologic and geographic regio ...

Columbia
using tunes from MGM productions that were recorded by Columbia. These records were sold only at Loew's theaters. (Columbia also created a label called Publix for Paramount music and sold only at Paramount Theaters.) MGM produced approximately 50 pictures a year, though it never met its goal of releasing a new motion picture each and every week (it was only able to release one feature film every nine days). Loew's 153 theaters were mostly located in New York, the Northeast, and Deep South; ''
Gone with the WindGone with the Wind may refer to: * Gone with the Wind (novel), ''Gone with the Wind'' (novel), a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell * Gone with the Wind (film), ''Gone with the Wind'' (film), 1939 adaptation of the novel * Gone with the Wind (musical), ...
'' (1939) had its world premiere at
Loew's Grand Theatre Loew's Grand Theater, originally DeGive's Grand Opera House, was a movie theater at the corner of Peachtree Street, Peachtree and Forsyth Streets in downtown Atlanta, downtown Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. It was most famous as the site of ...
in Atlanta, Georgia. A fine reputation was gained for lavish productions that were sophisticated and polished to cater to an urban audience. Still, as the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
deepened, MGM began to economize by "recycling" existing sets, costumes, and furnishings from yesteryear projects. This recycling practice never let up once started. In addition, MGM saved money because it was the only one of the big five studios that did not own an off-site
movie ranch A movie ranch is a ranch A ranch (from es, rancho) is an area of land Land is the solid surface of Earth that is not permanently submerged in water. Most but not all land is situated at elevations above sea level (variable over geolog ...
. Until the mid-1950s, MGM could make a claim its rivals could not: it never lost money, although it did have an occasional disaster like '' Parnell'' (1937), Clark Gable's biggest flop. It was the only Hollywood studio that continued to pay dividends during the 1930s. MGM stars dominated the box office during the 1930s, and the studio was credited for inventing the Hollywood stable of stars system, as well. MGM contracted with the American Musical Academy of Arts Association to handle all of their press and artist development. The AMAAA's main function was to develop the budding stars and to make them appealing to the public. Stars such as Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy and Jeanette MacDonald reigned as the top-paid figures at the studio. Another MGM sex symbol actress,
Jean Harlow Jean Harlow (born Harlean Harlow Carpenter; March 3, 1911 – June 7, 1937) was an American actress and sex symbol A sex symbol is a celebrity or Character (arts), fictional character widely considered to be Sexual attraction, sexually ...
, who had previously appeared in the
Howard Hughes Howard Robard Hughes Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was an American business magnate, investor, record-setting pilot, engineer, film director, and Philanthropy, philanthropist, known during his lifetime as one of the most influential ...

Howard Hughes
film '' Hell's Angels'' (1930), now had a big break and became one of MGM's most admired stars, as well. Despite Harlow's gain, Garbo still was a big star for MGM. Shearer was still a money maker despite screen appearances becoming scarce, and Crawford continued her box-office power until 1937. MGM also received a boost through the man who would become "King of Hollywood", Clark Gable. Gable's career took off to new heights after he won an Oscar for the
Columbia Columbia may refer to: * Columbia (personification), the historical female national personification of the United States, and a poetic name for the Americas Places North America Natural features * Columbia Plateau, a geologic and geographic regio ...
film ''
It Happened One Night ''It Happened One Night'' is a 1934 pre-Code '' (1931) were able to feature criminal, anti-hero protagonists. File:LegsTurntab42ndStTrailer.jpg, upright=1.5, ''42nd Street (film), 42nd Street'' (1933) made concessions to the Hays Code ...
'' (1934). Mayer and Irving Thalberg's relationship began warmly, but eventually the two became estranged; Thalberg preferred literary works to the crowd-pleasers Mayer wanted. Thalberg, always physically frail, was removed as head of production in 1932. Mayer encouraged other staff producers, among them his son-in-law David O. Selznick, but no one seemed to have the sure touch of Thalberg. As Thalberg fell increasingly ill in 1936, Louis Mayer could now serve as his temporary replacement. Rumors began circulating that Thalberg was leaving to set up his own independent company; his early death in 1936, at age 37, cost MGM dearly. After Thalberg's untimely death, Mayer became head of production, as well as studio chief, becoming the first million-dollar executive in American history. The company remained profitable, although a change toward "series" pictures (''
Andy Hardy :''For those of a similar name, see Andrew Hardie (disambiguation)Andrew Hardie may refer to: *Andrew Hardie, Baron Hardie (born 1946), Scottish Labour Party politician and Government minister *Andrew Hardie (radical), Scottish radical, executed fo ...
'' starring
Mickey Rooney Mickey Rooney (born Joseph Yule Jr.; September 23, 1920 – April 6, 2014) was an American actor, producer, radio entertainer and vaudevillian. In a career spanning nine decades and continuing until his death, he appeared in more than 300 films, ...

Mickey Rooney
, ''
Maisie 220px, thumb Maisie Ravier is a fictional character, the leading character of ten films (1939–1947) and the radio show ''The Adventures of Maisie ''The Adventures of Maisie'' (aka ''Maisie'') was a radio comedy series starring Ann Sothern as u ...
'' starring
Ann Sothern Ann Sothern (born Harriette Arlene Lake; January 22, 1909 – March 15, 2001) was an American actress who worked on stage, radio, film, and television, in a career that spanned nearly six decades. Sothern began her career in the late 1920s ...
, '' Thin Man'' starring
William Powell William Horatio Powell (July 29, 1892 – March 5, 1984) was an American actor. A major star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, initialized as MGM; often referred to as Met ...
and
Myrna Loy Myrna Loy (born Myrna Adele Williams; August 2, 1905 – December 14, 1993) was an American film, television and stage actress. Trained as a dancer, Loy devoted herself fully to an acting career following a few minor roles in silent film ...

Myrna Loy
,'' et al.'') is seen by some as evidence of Mayer's restored influence. Also playing a huge role was Ida Koverman, Mayer's secretary and ''right hand''. In 1937, Mayer hired
Mervyn LeRoy Mervyn LeRoy (; October 15, 1900 – September 13, 1987) was an American film director, film producer and screenplay writer. In his youth he played juvenile roles in vaudeville and silent film comedies. During the 1930s, LeRoy was one of the tw ...
, a former
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
(WB) producer/director as MGM's top producer and Thalberg's replacement. LeRoy talked Mayer into purchasing the rights to make a film version of the popular book ''
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz ''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'' () is an American children's novel written by author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W.W. Denslow, originally published by the George M. Hill Company in May 1900. It has since seen several reprints, most ofte ...
'', which MGM did on June 3, 1938, from Sam Goldwyn for $75,000. Hits in 1939 included ''
The Wizard of Oz ''The Wizard of Oz'' may refer to: *''The Wonderful Wizard of Oz'', a 1900 American novel by L. Frank Baum **Wizard of Oz (character), from the Baum novel series The Wizard of Oz may also refer to: Adaptations of the novel Film * The Wonderful ...
'', ''Boys Town'' and ''
Gone with the WindGone with the Wind may refer to: * Gone with the Wind (novel), ''Gone with the Wind'' (novel), a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell * Gone with the Wind (film), ''Gone with the Wind'' (film), 1939 adaptation of the novel * Gone with the Wind (musical), ...
'', starring
Vivien Leigh Vivien Leigh (; 5 November 1913 – 8 July 1967; born Vivian Mary Hartley and styled as Lady Olivier after 1947) was a British actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice, for her definitive performances as Scarlett O'Hara in ''Gon ...
as
Scarlett O'Hara Katie Scarlett Hamilton Kennedy Butler née O'Hara is a fictional character and the protagonist in Margaret Mitchell Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American novelist and journalist. Mitchell wrote ...
and Clark Gable as
Rhett Butler Rhett Butler (Born in 1828) is a fictional character in the 1936 novel '' Gone with the Wind'' by Margaret Mitchell Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American novelist and journalist. Mitchell wrote on ...
. Although ''Gone With the Wind'' was produced by
Selznick International Pictures The facade of the Selznick International Pictures administration building in Culver City became the trademark of the studio Selznick International Pictures was a Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood in the Central Los Angeles, central region ...
, it was distributed by MGM as part of a deal for producer
David O. Selznick David O. Selznick (May 10, 1902June 22, 1965) was an American film producer A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working Independent film, independently, producers plan and coordi ...
, Mayer's son-in-law, to obtain the services of Gable as well as financial assistance to complete the film. While ''The Wizard of Oz'' was a critical hit, the film took 20 years before turning a profit.


1940s

Within one year, beginning in 1942, Mayer released his five highest-paid actresses from their studio contracts: Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy and Jeanette MacDonald. After a two-year hiatus, Crawford moved to Warner Brothers, where her career took a dramatic upturn. Shearer and Garbo never made another film after leaving the lot. Of the five stars, Loy and MacDonald were the only two whom Mayer rehired, in 1947 and 1948 respectively. Increasingly, before and during World War II, Mayer came to rely on his "College of Cardinals"—senior producers who controlled the studio's output. This management-by-committee resulted in MGM losing its momentum, developing few new stars, and relying on the safety of sequels and bland material. (
Dorothy Parker Dorothy Parker (née Rothschild; August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, writer, critic, and satirist This is an incomplete list of writers, cartoonists and others known for involvement in satire Satire is a genre G ...

Dorothy Parker
memorably referred to it as "Metro-Goldwyn-Merde.") Production values remained high, and even carried a polish and gloss that made them expensive to mount. After 1940, production was cut from 50 pictures a year to a more manageable 25 features per year. During this time, MGM released very successful
musicals Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U ...
with players such as
Judy Garland Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American actress and singer. She is widely known for playing the role of Dorothy Gale Dorothy Gale is a fictional character created by American author L. Frank Baum ...
,
Fred Astaire Fred Astaire (born Frederick Austerlitz; May 10, 1899 – June 22, 1987) was an American actor, dancer, singer, choreographer, and television presenter. He is widely considered the greatest dancer in film history. His stage and subsequen ...
,
Gene Kelly Eugene Curran Kelly (August 23, 1912 – February 2, 1996) was an American actor, dancer, singer, filmmaker, and choreographer. He was known for his energetic and athletic dancing style, his good looks, and the likable characters that he played ...

Gene Kelly
, and
Frank Sinatra Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor who is generally viewed as one of the greatest musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, hav ...

Frank Sinatra
.


1950s

Audiences began drifting to television in the late 1940s. MGM found it difficult to attract them to theaters. With its high overhead expenses, MGM's profit margins continued to decrease. Word came from
Nicholas Schenck Nicholas M. Schenck (14 November 1880, Rybinsk, Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, ...
in New York: find "a new Thalberg" who could improve quality while paring costs. Mayer thought he had found this savior in
Dore Schary Isadore "Dore" Schary (August 31, 1905 – July 7, 1980) was an American playwright, director, and producer for the stage and a prolific screenwriter and producer of motion pictures. He directed just one feature film A feature film or feature ...
, a writer and producer who had found success at running
RKO RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. (a subsidiary of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, aka: RKO) it was one of the Big FiveBig Five may refer to: Animals * th ...
. Top-notch musicals were Schary's focus, with hits like ''
Easter Parade #REDIRECT Easter parade #REDIRECT Easter parade The Easter parade is an American cultural event consisting of a festive strolling procession on Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ...
'' and the various films of
Mario Lanza Mario Lanza (, ; born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza ; January 31, 1921 – October 7, 1959) was an American tenor, actor, and Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the ...
(most famously, ''
The Great Caruso ''The Great Caruso'' is a 1951 biographical film made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Mario Lanza as Enrico Caruso. It was directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Joe Pasternak with Jesse L. Lasky as associate producer from a screenplay b ...
'') keeping MGM afloat. In August 1951, Mayer was fired by MGM's East Coast executives and was replaced by Schary. Gradually cutting loose expensive contract players (including $6,000-a-week Judy Garland in 1950), saving money by recycling existing movie sets instead of building costly new scenery, and reworking pricey old costumes, Schary managed to keep the studio running much as it had through the early 1940s though his sensibilities for hard-edged, message movies would never bear much fruit. One bright spot was MGM musical pictures, under the aegis of producer
Arthur Freed Arthur Freed (September 9, 1894 – April 12, 1973) was an American lyricist and Hollywood film producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Picture The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards The Academy Awards, po ...
, who was operating what amounted to an independent unit within the studio. MGM produced some well-regarded and profitable musicals that would be later acknowledged as classics, among them ''
An American in Paris ''An American in Paris'' is a jazz-influenced orchestral piece by American composer George Gershwin George Gershwin (; born Jacob Bruskin Gershowitz; September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer, pianist and painter w ...
'' (1951), ''
Singin' in the Rain ''Singin' in the Rain'' is a 1952 American musical Musical is the adjective of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects ...
'' (1952), and ''
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers ''Seven Brides for Seven Brothers'' is a 1954 American musical film Musical film is a film genre in which songs by the Character (arts), characters are interwoven into the narrative, sometimes accompanied by dancing. The songs usually advance t ...
'' (1954). However, ''
Brigadoon ''Brigadoon'' is a musical Musical is the adjective of music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cultural aspects of all human societies. ...
'' (1954), '' Deep in My Heart'' (1954), ''
It's Always Fair Weather ''It's Always Fair Weather'' is a 1955 MGM musical satire scripted by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, who also wrote the show's lyrics, with music by André Previn and starring Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse, Dolores Gray, and dancer/chor ...
'' (1955), and '' Invitation to the Dance'' (1956), were extravagant song and dance flops, and even the now-classic ''
The Band Wagon ''The Band Wagon'' is a 1953 American Musical film, musical romantic comedy film directed by Vincente Minnelli, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. It tells the story of an aging musical star who hopes a Broadway theatre, Broadway show will ...
'' (1953) lost money in its initial release. In 1952, as a settlement of the government's restraint-of-trade action, '' United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc.'' 334 US 131 (1948), Loews, Inc. gave up control of MGM. It would take another five years before the interlocking arrangements were completely undone, by which time both Loews and MGM were sinking. Schary was moved out of MGM in 1956 in another power struggle against the New York-based executives. Cost overruns and the failure of the big-budget epic '' Raintree County'' (1957) prompted the studio to release Schary from his contract. Schary's reign at MGM had been marked with few bona-fide hits, but his departure (along with the retirement of Schenck in 1955) left a power vacuum that would prove difficult to fill. Initially Joseph Vogel became president and
Sol Siegel Sol C. Siegel (March 30, 1903 – December 29, 1982) was an American film producer. Two of the numerous films he produced, ''A Letter to Three Wives'' (1949) and ''Three Coins in the Fountain (film), Three Coins in the Fountain'' (1954), were nom ...
head of production. In 1957 (by coincidence, the year Mayer died), the studio lost money for the first time in its 34-year history. By 1960, MGM had released all of its contract players, with many either retiring or moving on to television. In 1958, MGM released what is generally considered its last great musical, Arthur Freed's Cinemascope color production of '' Gigi'', starring
Leslie Caron Leslie Claire Margaret Caron (; born 1 July 1931) is a French-American actress, dancer, and writer. She is the recipient of a Golden Globe Award, two BAFTA Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Award is an American award b ...
,
Maurice Chevalier Maurice Auguste Chevalier (; 12 September 1888 – 1 January 1972) was a French actor, cabaret singer and entertainer. He is perhaps best known for his signature songs, including " Livin' In The Sunlight", " Valentine", " Louise", " Mimi", and " ...

Maurice Chevalier
, and
Louis Jourdan Louis Jourdan (born Louis Robert Gendre; 19 June 1921 – 14 February 2015) was a French film and television actor. He was known for his suave roles in several Hollywood films, including Alfred Hitchcock's ''The Paradine Case'' (1947), ''Letter ...
. It was adapted from the novel by
Colette Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (; 28 January 1873 – 3 August 1954), known Mononymous person, mononymously as Colette, was a French author and woman of letters. She was also known as a Mime artist, mime, actress, and journalist. Colette is best reme ...

Colette
, and written by the team of
Lerner and Loewe Lerner and Loewe refers to the partnership between lyricist A lyricist or lyrist is a songwriter Songwriting partners Rodgers and Hart working on a song in 1936 A songwriter is a musician A musician is a person who composes, conducts, ...
, who also wrote ''My Fair Lady'' and ''Camelot''. ''Gigi'' was a box-office and critical success which won nine
Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking F ...
s, including
Best PictureThis is a list of categories of awards commonly awarded through organizations that bestow film awards, including those presented by various film, festivals, and people's awards. Best Actor/Best Actress *See Best Actor#Film awards, Best Actress#Fi ...
. From it came several hit songs, including "Thank Heaven For Little Girls", "I Remember It Well", the "Waltz at Maxim's", and the Oscar-winning title song. The film was the last MGM musical to win a Best Picture Oscar, an honor that had previously gone to ''
The Broadway Melody ''The Broadway Melody'', also known as ''The Broadway Melody of 1929'', is a 1929 American Pre-Code Hollywood, pre-Code musical film and the first sound film to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. It was one of the first musicals to feature ...
'' (1929), ''
The Great Ziegfeld ''The Great Ziegfeld'' is a 1936 American musical film , musical drama film directed by Robert Z. Leonard and produced by Hunt Stromberg. It stars William Powell as the theatrical impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Florenz "Flo" Ziegfeld Jr., Lu ...
'' (1936), and ''
An American in Paris ''An American in Paris'' is a jazz-influenced orchestral piece by American composer George Gershwin George Gershwin (; born Jacob Bruskin Gershowitz; September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer, pianist and painter w ...
'' (1951). The last musical film produced by the " Freed Unit" was an adaptation of the Broadway musical '' Bells Are Ringing'' (1960) with
Judy Holliday Judy Holliday (born Judith Tuvim, June 21, 1921 – June 7, 1965) was an American actress, comedian and singer.Obituary '' Variety'', June 9, 1965, p. 71. She began her career as part of a nightclub act before working in Broadway plays and musi ...

Judy Holliday
and
Dean Martin Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, actor and comedian of Italian descent. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed ...
. However, MGM did release later musical films, including an adaptation of
Meredith Willson Robert Reiniger Meredith Willson (May 18, 1902 – June 15, 1984) was an American flutist, composer A composer (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages ...
's '' The Unsinkable Molly Brown'' (1964) with
Debbie Reynolds Mary Frances "Debbie" Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016) was an American actress, singer, and businesswoman. Her career spanned almost 70 years. She was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her portraya ...

Debbie Reynolds
and
Harve Presnell George Harvey Presnell (September 14, 1933 – June 30, 2009) was an American actor and singer. He began his career in the mid-1950s as a classical baritone A baritone is a type of classical male singing Singing is the act of producing ...
.


MGM enters television

MGM's first television program, '' The MGM Parade'', was produced by MGM's trailer department as one of the compilation and promotional shows that imitated Disney's series ''
Disneyland The Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for ...
'' which was also on
ABC ABC are the first three letters of the Latin script known as the alphabet. ABC or abc may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Broadcasting * American Broadcasting Company, a commercial U.S. TV broadcaster ** Disney–ABC Television ...
. ''Parade'' was canceled by ABC in the 2nd quarter of 1956. MGM took bids for its movie library in 1956 from Lou Chesler and others, but decided on entering the TV market itself. Chesler had offered $50 million for the film library.
MGM Television MGM Television Worldwide Group and Digital (alternatively Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television Group and Digital, commonly known as MGM Television and then-known as MGM/UA Television; common Metonym: Lion) is an American television production/Broad ...
was started with the hiring of Bud Barry to head up the operation in June 1956.
MGM Television MGM Television Worldwide Group and Digital (alternatively Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Television Group and Digital, commonly known as MGM Television and then-known as MGM/UA Television; common Metonym: Lion) is an American television production/Broad ...
was to distribute its films to TV (starting with the networks), TV production and purchasing TV stations. TV production was expected to start with the 1957–58 season and was to include half-hour remakes of, or series based on, its pictures. Initial feature film sales focused on selling to the networks. The year 1957 also marked the end of MGM's animation department, as the studio determined it could generate the same amount of revenue by reissuing older cartoons as it could by producing and releasing new ones. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, by then the heads of the MGM cartoon studio, took most of their unit and made their own company,
Hanna-Barbera Productions Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. ( ), also variously known as H-B Enterprises, H-B Production Co., and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc., was an American animation studio An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such c ...

Hanna-Barbera Productions
, a successful producer of television animation. In 1956, MGM sold the television rights for ''The Wizard of Oz'' to
CBS CBS is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S ...

CBS
, which scheduled it to be shown in November of that year. In a landmark event, the film became the first American theatrical fiction film to be shown complete in one evening on prime time television over a major American commercial network. ( Olivier's version of ''
Hamlet ''The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark'', often shortened to ''Hamlet'' (), is a tragedy Tragedy (from the grc-gre, τραγῳδία, ''tragōidia'', ''tragōidia'') is a genre of drama Drama is the specific Mode (litera ...
'' was shown on prime time network TV a month later, but split in half over two weeks, and the 1950 film, '' The Titan: Story of Michelangelo'' was telecast by ABC in 1952, but that was a documentary.) Beginning in 1959, and lasting until 1991, telecasts of ''The Wizard of Oz'' became an annual tradition, drawing huge audiences in homes all over the U.S. and earning additional profits for MGM. The studio was all too happy to see ''Oz'' become, through television, one of the two or three most famous films MGM has ever made, and one of the few films that nearly everybody in the U.S. has seen at least once. Today ''The Wizard of Oz'' is regularly shown on the
Turner Turner may refer to: People and fictional characters * Turner (surname), a common surname, including a list of people and fictional characters with the name * Turner (given name), a list of people with the given name *One who uses a lathe for turni ...

Turner
-owned channels, no longer just once a year.


MGM cartoons

In animation, MGM purchased the rights in 1930 to distribute a series of cartoons that starred a character named
Flip the Frog 250px, '' Fiddlesticks'' (1930) Flip the Frog is an animated Animation is a method in which Image, figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent cel, celluloid sh ...
, produced by
Ub Iwerks Ubbe Ert Iwwerks (March 24, 1901 – July 7, 1971), known as Ub Iwerks (), was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, Invention, inventor, and special effects technician, who designed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. ...
. The first cartoon in this series (entitled ''Fiddlesticks'') was the first sound cartoon to be produced in two-color Technicolor. In 1933, Ub Iwerks canceled the unsuccessful Flip the Frog series and MGM began to distribute its second series of cartoons, starring a character named Willie Whopper, that was also produced by Ub Iwerks. In 1934, after Iwerks' distribution contract expired, MGM contracted with animation producers/directors Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising to produce a new series of color cartoons. Harman and Ising came to MGM after breaking ties with
Leon Schlesinger Leon Schlesinger (May 20, 1884 – December 25, 1949) was an American film producer who founded Leon Schlesinger Productions Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. (also known as Warner Bros. Classic Animation and nicknamed Termite Terrace) was the in-h ...
and Warner Bros. and brought with them their popular ''
Looney Tunes ''Looney Tunes'' is an American animated Animation is a method in which Image, figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent cel, celluloid sheets to be photo ...
'' character,
Bosko Bosko is an animated Animation is a method in which Image, figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent cel, celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibite ...

Bosko
. These were known as ''
Happy Harmonies ''Happy Harmonies'' is the name of a series of thirty-seven animation, animated cartoons distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and produced by Harman and Ising, Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising between 1934 and 1938. Produced in Technicolor, these carto ...
'', and in many ways resembled the ''Looney Tunes'' sister series, ''
Merrie Melodies ''Merrie Melodies'' is an American animation, animated series of comedy short films produced by Warner Bros. starting in 1931, during the golden age of American animation, and ending in 1969. As with its partner series, ''Looney Tunes'', it featu ...
''. The ''Happy Harmonies'' regularly ran over budget, and MGM dismissed Harman-Ising in 1937 to start its own
animation studio An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such companies conceive of products to produce, own the physical equipment for production, employ operators for that equipment, and hold a major stake in the sales or rentals o ...
. After initial struggles with a poorly received series of '' The Captain and the Kids'' cartoons, the studio rehired Harman and Ising in 1939, and Ising created the studio's first successful animated character,
Barney Bear ''Barney Bear'' is an American series of animated cartoon short subjects produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio. The title character is an anthropomorphic cartoon character, a sluggish, sleepy bear who often is in pursuit of nothing but p ...
. However, MGM's biggest cartoon stars would come in the form of the cat-and-mouse duo
Tom and Jerry ''Tom and Jerry'' is an American animated Animation is a method in which figures Figure may refer to: General *A shape, drawing, depiction, or geometric configuration *Figure (wood), wood appearance *Figure (music), distinguished from mu ...
, created by
William Hanna William "Bill" Denby Hanna (July 14, 1910 – March 22, 2001) was an American animator, voice acting, voice actor, cartoonist, and musician. Hanna joined the Harman and Ising animation studio in 1930 and steadily gained skill and prominence wh ...
and
Joseph Barbera Joseph "Joe" Roland Barbera ( ; ; March 24, 1911 – December 18, 2006) was an American animator An animator is an artist An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art Art is a diverse range of (products of) ...
in 1940. The ''Tom and Jerry'' cartoons won seven
Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking F ...
s between 1943 and 1953. In 1941,
Tex Avery Frederick Bean "Tex" Avery (February 26, 1908 – August 26, 1980) was an American animator, cartoonist, animation director, director and voice actor. He was known for directing and producing animated cartoons during the golden age of American an ...
, another Schlesinger alumnus, joined the animation department. Avery gave the unit its image, with successes like '' Red Hot Riding Hood'', '' Swing Shift Cinderella'', and the ''
Droopy Droopy is an animated character from the golden age of American animation. He is an anthropomorphic dog with a droopy face, hence his name. He was created in 1943 by Tex Avery for theatrical cartoon short film, shorts produced by the Metro-Goldwyn ...

Droopy
'' series. Avery left the studio in 1953, leaving Hanna and Barbera to focus on the popular ''Tom and Jerry'' and ''Droopy'' series. After 1955, all cartoons were filmed in
CinemaScope CinemaScope is an anamorphic format, anamorphic lens series used, from 1953 to 1967, and less often later, for shooting widescreen films that, crucially, could be screened in theatres using existing equipment, albeit with a lens adapter. Its cre ...
until MGM closed its cartoon division in 1957. In 1961, MGM resumed the release of new ''Tom and Jerry'' shorts, and production moved to Rembrandt Films in
Prague Prague ( ; cs, Praha ; german: Prag, ; la, Praga) is the capital and largest city A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people ...

Prague
,
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...

Czechoslovakia
(now the Czech Republic) under the supervision of
Gene Deitch Eugene Merril Deitch (August 8, 1924 – April 16, 2020) was an American illustrator, animator, comics artist, and film director who was based in Prague from the 1960s until his death in 2020. Deitch was known for creating animated cartoons s ...

Gene Deitch
, who had been hired away from UPA. Although Deitch's ''Tom and Jerry'' cartoons were considered to be vastly inferior to the earlier Hanna and Barbera shorts, they did receive positive reviews in some quarters. In 1963, the production of ''Tom and Jerry'' returned to Hollywood under
Chuck Jones Charles Martin Jones (September 21, 1912 – February 22, 2002) was an American animator, voice actor, and painter, best known for his work with Warner Bros. Cartoons Warner Bros. Cartoons, Inc. (also known as Warner Bros. Classic Animation an ...

Chuck Jones
and his Sib Tower 12 Productions studio (later absorbed by MGM and renamed
MGM Animation/Visual Arts MGM Animation/Visual Arts was an American animation studio established in 1962 by animation director/producer Chuck Jones and producer Les Goldman as Sib Tower 12 Productions. Its productions include the last series of ''Tom and Jerry'' theatrical ...
). Jones' group also produced its own works, winning an
Oscar Oscar, OSCAR, or The Oscar may refer to: People * Oscar (given name) Oscar or Oskar is a masculine given name of Irish origin. Etymology The name is derived from two elements in Irish: the first, ''os'', means "deer"; the second element, ' ...
for ''
The Dot and the Line ''The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics'' is a book written and illustrated by Norton Juster, first published by Random House Random House is an American book publisher and the largest general-interest paperback publisher in the ...
'' (1965), as well as producing the classic television version of
Dr. Seuss Theodor Seuss Geisel (;"Seuss"
''
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'' is a children's story by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel written in rhymed verse with illustrations by the author. It follows the Grinch, a grouchy, solitary creature who attempts to put an end to Christmas by s ...
'' (1966) featuring the voice of
Boris Karloff William Henry Pratt (23 November 1887 – 2 February 1969), better known by his stage name A stage name is a pseudonym A pseudonym () (originally: ψευδώνυμος in Greek) or alias () is a fictitious name that a person or group assum ...

Boris Karloff
. ''Tom and Jerry'' folded in 1967, and the animation department continued with
television special A television special (often TV special, or rarely "television spectacular") is a stand-alone television show A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a which can be broadcast via , , or , excluding , ...
s and one feature film, ''
The Phantom Tollbooth ''The Phantom Tollbooth'' is a children's fantasy adventure novel written by Norton Juster with illustrations by Jules Feiffer. It was published in 1961 in literature, 1961 by Random House (USA). It tells the story of a bored young boy named Mil ...
''. A revived
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation (or MGM Animation for short) was the animation division of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, initialized as MGM; often referred to as Metro; ...
was in existence from 1993 to 1999.


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.


MGM in the 1960s

In 1959, MGM enjoyed what is quite probably its greatest financial success of later years, with the release of its nearly four-hour
Technicolor Technicolor is a series of color motion picture processes, the first version dating to 1916, and followed by improved versions over several decades. It was the second major color process, after Britain's Kinemacolor Kinemacolor was the firs ...

Technicolor
epic '' Ben–Hur'', a remake of its 1925 silent film hit, loosely based on the novel by . Starring
Charlton Heston Charlton Heston (born John Charles Carter; October 4, 1923April 5, 2008) was an American actor and political activist. As a Hollywood star, he appeared in almost 100 films over the course of 60 years. He played Moses in the epic film ''The Ten ...

Charlton Heston
in the title role, the film was critically acclaimed, and won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, a record that held until ''
Titanic RMS ''Titanic'' was a British passenger liner Liner or LINER may refer to: Line drawing * , a type of makeup * , a porous-tip pen with its own ink source * used in engraving * A used by coach painters Linings * , a noise-damping ...
'' matched it in 1997 and '' The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'' also did in 2003. During this period, MGM fell into a practice that would eventually sink the studio: an entire year's production schedule relied on the success of one big-budget epic each year. This policy began in 1959, when ''Ben–Hur'' was profitable enough to carry the studio through 1960. However, four succeeding big-budget epics—like ''Ben–Hur'', each a remake—failed: '' Cimarron'' (1960), ''
King of Kings King of Kings was a ruling title employed primarily by monarchs based in the Middle East. Though most commonly associated with History of Iran, Iran (historically known as name of Iran, Persia in Western world, the West), especially the Achae ...
'' (1961), ''
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 300px, '' Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse'', an 1887 painting by Viktor Vasnetsov. From left to right are Death, Famine, War, and Conquest; the Lamb of God, Lamb is at the top. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (often referred to as the Four H ...
'' (1961), and, most notoriously, ''
Mutiny on the Bounty The mutiny Mutiny is a revolt among a group of people (typically of a military, of a crew or of a crew of Piracy, pirates) to oppose, change, or overthrow an organization to which they were previously loyal. The term is commonly used f ...
'' (1962). The Cinerama film ''
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm ''The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm'' is a 1962 American fantasy film Fantasy films are films that belong to the fantasy genre with fantastic themes, usually magic, supernatural events, mythology, folklore Folklore is the expr ...
'' (also 1962), the first film in
Cinerama Cinerama is a widescreen process that originally projected images simultaneously from three synchronized 35 mm movie film, 35mm projectors onto a huge, deeply curved screen, subtending 146° of arc. The trademarked process was marketed by the C ...

Cinerama
to actually tell a story, was also a flop. But one other epic that was a success, however, was the MGM-Cinerama co-production '' How the West Was Won'' (again 1962), with a huge all-star cast. ''King of Kings'', while a commercial and critical flop at the time, has since come to be regarded as a film classic. The losses caused by these films led to the resignations of Sol Siegel and Joseph Vogel who were replaced by Robert M. Weitman (head of production) and Robert O'Brien (president). The combination of O'Brien and Weitman seemed to temporarily revive the studio. MGM released
David Lean Sir David Lean (25 March 190816 April 1991) was an English film director, producer, screenwriter and editor. Widely considered one of the most influential directors of all time, Lean directed the large-scale epics The Experimental Physics a ...
's immensely popular ''
Doctor Zhivago''Doctor Zhivago'' is the title of a Doctor Zhivago (novel), novel by Boris Pasternak and its various adaptations. Description The story, in all of its forms, describes the life of the fictional Russian physician and poet Yuri Zhivago and deals with ...
'' (1965), later followed by such hits as ''
The Dirty Dozen ''The Dirty Dozen'' is a 1967 war film starring Lee Marvin and featuring an ensemble supporting cast including Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassavetes, George Kennedy, Robert Ryan, Telly Savalas, Robert Webber and Donald Suth ...
'' (1967) and '' 2001: A Space Odyssey'' (1968). However the company's time was taken up fighting off proxy attacks by
corporate raid In business, a corporate raid is the process of buying a large stake in a corporation and then using shareholder voting rights to require the company to undertake novel measures designed to increase the share value, generally in opposition to the d ...
ers, and then MGM backed another series of flops, including ''
Ryan's Daughter ''Ryan's Daughter'' is a 1970 British Epic film, epic Romance film, romantic drama film directed by David Lean. The film, set in August 1917–January 1918, tells the story of a married Irish woman who has an affair with a British officer during ...
'' (1970). Weitman moved over to Columbia in 1967 and O'Brien was forced to resign a few years later. In the mid-1960s, MGM began to diversify by investing in real estate. Edgar Bronfman Sr. purchased a controlling interest in MGM in 1966 (and was briefly chairman of the board in 1969), and in 1967
Time Inc. Time Inc. was an American worldwide mass media corporation founded on November 28, 1922, by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden and based in New York City. It owned and published over 100 magazine brands, including its namesake ''Time (magazine), Time ...
became the company's second-largest shareholder.


Kirk Kerkorian investment

In 1969,
Kirk Kerkorian Kerkor "Kirk" Kerkorian (; June 6, 1917 – June 15, 2015) was an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. He was the president and CEO of Tracinda Corporation, his private holding company based in Beverly Hills, California. Kerk ...

Kirk Kerkorian
purchased 40 percent of MGM stock. What appealed to Kerkorian was MGM's asset value, which included subsidiary businesses, real estate, and the value of 45 years' worth of glamour associated with the name, which he attached to a Las Vegas hotel and
casino A casino is a facility for certain types of gambling. Casinos are often built near or combined with hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships, and other tourist attractions. Some casinos are also known for hosting live entertai ...

casino
. As for film-making, that part of the company was bleeding money and was quickly and severely downsized under the supervision of James T. Aubrey Jr. With changes in its business model including fewer pictures per year, more location shooting and more distribution of independent productions, MGM's operations were reduced. Aubrey sold off MGM's accumulation of props, furnishings and historical memorabilia, including a pair of Dorothy's
ruby slippers The ruby slippers are the magic pair of shoes worn by Dorothy Gale Dorothy Gale is a fictional character created by American author L. Frank Baum as the protagonist in many of his Land of Oz, ''Oz'' novels. She first appears in Baum's classic ...

ruby slippers
from ''The Wizard of Oz''. Lot 3, of back-lot property, was sold off for real-estate development. In 1971, it was announced that MGM was in talks with
20th Century Fox 20th Century Studios, Inc. (also known as 20th Century for short, and nicknamed 20th Pictures, formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is an American film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a maj ...
about a possible merger, a plan which never came into fruition. Under Aubrey, MGM also sold off
MGM Records MGM Records was a record label founded by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (also known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, initialized as MGM; often referred to as Metro; common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of sp ...
and its overseas theater holdings. Through the 1970s, studio output slowed considerably as Aubrey preferred four or five medium-budget pictures each year along with a smattering of low-budget fare. In October 1973 and in decline in output, MGM closed MGM's distribution offices then outsourced distribution for its library for a ten-year period along with selling its music publishing arm, Robbins, Feist & Miller plus half of
Quality Records Quality Records was a Canadian entertainment company which released music albums in Canada on behalf of American record labels. They also released recordings by Canadian artists. The company operated between 1950 and 1985 with offices in Toronto ...
of Canada, to
United Artists United Artists Corporation (UA), currently doing business as United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April ...
. Kerkorian now distanced himself from the operations of the studio, focusing on MGM Grand Hotel by investing $120 million. Another portion of the backlot was sold in 1974. The last shooting done on the
backlot A backlot is an area behind or adjoining a movie studio containing permanent exterior buildings for outdoor scenes in filmmaking Filmmaking (or, in any context, film production) is the process by which a film A film, also called a movi ...
was the introductory material for ''
That's Entertainment! ''That's Entertainment!'' is a 1974 American compilation film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to celebrate the studio's 50th anniversary. The success of the retrospective prompted That's Entertainment, Part II, a 1976 sequel, the related 1985 fil ...
'' (1974), a retrospective documentary that became a surprise hit for the studio. ''That's Entertainment!'' was authorized by
Dan Melnick Daniel Melnick (April 21, 1932 – October 13, 2009) was an American film producer and movie studio executive who started working in Hollywood as a teenager in television and then became the producer of such films as '' All That Jazz'', ''Altered ...
, who was appointed head of production in 1972. Under Melnick's regime, MGM made a number of successful films, including ''
Westworld ''Westworld'' is an American science fiction-thriller (genre), thriller media franchise that began with the Westworld (film), 1973 film ''Westworld'', written and directed by Michael Crichton. The film depicts a technologically advanced Wild Wes ...
'' (1973), ''
Soylent Green ''Soylent Green'' is a 1973 American ecological dystopia A dystopia (from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following per ...
'' (1973), ''
The Sunshine Boys ''The Sunshine Boys'' is an original two-act play written by Neil Simon that premiered December 20, 1972 on Broadway starring Jack Albertson as Willie Clark and Sam Levene as Al Lewis and later adapted for film and television. Plot The play' ...
'' (1975), and ''
Network Network, networking and networked may refer to: Science and technology * Network theory, the study of graphs as a representation of relations between discrete objects * Network science, an academic field that studies complex networks Mathematics ...
'' (1976), which the studio co-produced with United Artists. However, MGM never reclaimed its former status. The MGM Recording Studios were sold in 1975. In 1979, Kerkorian declared that MGM was now primarily a hotel company. The company hit a symbolic low point in 1980 when
David Begelman David Begelman (August 26, 1921 – August 7, 1995) was an American film producer, film executive and talent agent who was involved in a studio embezzlement scandal in the 1970s. Life and career Begelman was born to a Jewish Jews ( h ...
, earlier let go by Columbia following the discovery of his acts of forgery and embezzlement, was installed as MGM's president and CEO. In 1980, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. split its production and casino units into separate companies: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co. and MGM Grand Hotels, Inc. The rise of ancillary markets was enough to allow MGM Film Co. to increase production to 10-15 films a year compared to three to six in the previous decade, but first it needed its own distribution unit.


MGM/UA Entertainment

MGM proceeded to return to theatrical distribution in 1981 with its purchase of United Artists, as UA's parent company
Transamerica Corporation The Transamerica Corporation is an American holding company for various life insurance companies and investment firms operating primarily in the United States, offering life and supplemental health insurance, investments, and retirement services. T ...
decided to sever its link with the studio following the failure of '' Heaven's Gate''. Because of this, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co. was renamed "MGM/UA Entertainment Company." MGM/UA sold its music publishing division to CBS Songs in 1983 with a five-year co-publishing agreement. In 1981, Fred Silverman and George Reeves via InterMedia Entertainment struck a deal with the studio to produce films and TV shows. ''
WarGames ''WarGames'' is a 1983 American Cold War science-fiction film, science fiction techno-thriller film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes, Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film, which stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Cole ...
'' and ''
Octopussy ''Octopussy'' is a 1983 spy film The spy film genre, also known sometimes as an espionage film, deals with the subject of fictional espionage, either in a realistic way (such as the adaptations of John le Carré) or as a basis for fantasy ...
'' (both 1983) were MGM/UA's only early 1980s hits but did not push MGM into the profit range that Kerkorian wanted. MGM/UA formed a trio of subsidiaries, the MGM/UA Home Entertainment Group, MGM/UA Classics, and the MGM/UA Television Group in 1982. Kerkorian offered to purchase the remaining outstanding MGM shares he did not own to take the company private but was met with resistance. After the purchase of United Artists, David Begelman's duties were transferred to that unit. Under Begelman, MGM/UA produced a number of unsuccessful films, and he was fired in July 1982. Out of the 11 films he put into production, by the time of his release from the studio, only one film, ''
Poltergeist In ghostlore, a poltergeist ( or ; German for "loud ghost" or "noisy spirit") is a type of ghost or spirit that is responsible for physical disturbances, such as loud noises and objects being moved or destroyed. Most claims about or fictional de ...
'' (1982), proved to be a clear hit. Not even MGM's greatest asset – its library – was enough to keep the studio afloat. After 1982, the studio relied more on distribution, picking up independent productions, rather than financing its own projects.


MGM Entertainment

On August 7, 1985,
Turner Broadcasting System Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (abbreviated as Turner) is an American television and media conglomerate A media conglomerate, media group, or media institution is a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal e ...
offered to buy MGM/UA. As film licensing to television became more complicated,
Ted Turner Robert Edward Turner III (born November 19, 1938) is an American media proprietor, producer, and philanthropist. As a businessman, he is known as founder of the Cable News Network (CNN), the first 24-hour United States cable news, cable news ch ...

Ted Turner
saw the value of acquiring MGM's film library for his
Superstation ''Superstation'' (alternatively rendered as "super station" or informally as "SuperStation") is a term in North American broadcasting that has several meanings. Commonly, a "superstation" is a form of distant signal, a broadcast television signa ...
WTBS. On March 25 of the following year, the deal was finalized in a cash-stock deal for $1.5 billion, and the company was renamed "MGM Entertainment Co.". Turner immediately sold MGM's United Artists subsidiary back to Kerkorian for roughly $480 million. But since Turner was unable to find financing for the rest of the deal because of concerns in the financial community over the debt-load of his companies, on August 26, 1986, Turner was forced to sell MGM's production and distribution assets to United Artists for $300 million. The MGM studio lot and lab facilities were sold to
Lorimar-Telepictures Lorimar-Telepictures Corporation was an entertainment company established in April 1986 with the merger of Lorimar Television and Telepictures. Headquartered at the former historic Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (now Sony Pictures Studios) in Culv ...

Lorimar-Telepictures
. Turner retained the pre-May 1986 library of MGM films, along with the
RKO Radio Pictures RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. In its original incarnation, as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. (a subsidiary of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, aka: RKO) it was one of the Big FiveBig Five may refer to: Animals * th ...
and pre-1950
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
films which United Artists had previously purchased. How much of MGM's back catalog Turner actually obtained was a point of conflict for a time; eventually, it was determined that Turner owned all of the pre-May 1986 MGM library, as well as the pre-1950 Warner Bros. catalog,WB retained a pair of features from 1949 that they merely distributed, and all short subjects released on or after September 1, 1948, in addition to all cartoons released on or after August 1, 1948. the ''
Popeye Popeye the Sailor Man is a fictional cartoon character created by .
'' cartoons released by Paramount (both the pre-1950 WB library and Popeye cartoons were sold to
Associated Artists Productions Associated Artists Productions, Inc. (a.a.p.) was a distributor of theatrical feature films and short subjects for television Television (TV), sometimes shortened to tele or telly, is a telecommunication medium used for transmitting ...
, which was later bought by United Artists), and the US/Canadian rights to the RKO library, in addition to MGM's television series. Turner used the acquired films to launch the new cable channel
Turner Network Television TNT (originally an abbreviation for Turner Network Television) is an American basic cable Cable television Cable television is a system of delivering television programming to consumers via radio frequency (RF) signals transmitted throug ...
.


MGM/UA Communications

After Kerkorian reclaimed MGM in August 1986, the MGM/UA name continued to be used, but the company changed its name, this time to MGM/UA Communications Co., now using MGM and UA as separate brands. In July 1988, Kerkorian announced plans to split MGM and UA into separate studios. Under this deal, Kerkorian, who owned 82% of MGM/UA Communications, would have sold 25% of MGM to
Barris Industries Barris Industries, Inc. was an American game show production company that was founded by Chuck Barris. History Barris founded his company on June 14, 1965 as Chuck Barris Productions. The company's first series was an unsold pilot called '' Peopl ...
(controlled by producers
Burt Sugarman Burton Roy Sugarman (born January 4, 1939) is an American film and television producer best known for creating and producing the iconic 1970s/early '80s showcase for rock-n-roll groups ''The Midnight Special (TV series), The Midnight Special''. In ...
,
Jon Peters John H. Peters (born June 2, 1945) is an American film producer A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working Independent film, independently, producers plan and coordinate various as ...
, and
Peter Guber Howard Peter Guber (born March 1, 1942)https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0345542/ is an American business executive, entrepreneur, educator and author. He is Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment. Guber's most recent films from Mandalay Enterta ...
). The proposition to spin off MGM was called off a few weeks later. In 1989, Australian-based
Qintex Qintex Limited was an Australian financial services company founded in 1975 as Takeovers, Equities & Management Securities (TEAM). It was renamed Qintex Limited and came to prominence in 1986, collapsing five years later in 1991. Its main share ...
attempted to buy MGM from Kerkorian, but the deal collapsed. On November 29, 1989, Turner (owners of the pre-May 1986 MGM library) attempted to buy Tracinda's entertainment assets such as MGM/UA Communications Co. but every time the deal had failed.


MGM-Pathé Communications

In 1990, Italian financier
Giancarlo Parretti Giancarlo Parretti (born 23 October 1941) is an Italian financier. In 1989, he took over Cannon Film Group Inc. from Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. Almost immediately, he made plans to take over the storied French studio Pathé, and changed ...
announced he was about to buy MGM/UA. Although the French government had scuttled Parretti's bid to buy
Pathé Pathé or Pathé Frères (, styled as PATHÉ!) is the name of various French business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, ...
due to concerns about his character, background, and past dealings, Parretti gained backing from Crédit Lyonnais and bought MGM/UA from Kirk Kerkorian. To finance the purchase, Parretti licensed the MGM/UA library to
Time Warner Warner Media, LLC ( traded as WarnerMedia, but stylized as WarnerMedia; formerly known as Time Warner from 1990 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2018; from 2001 to 2003, AOL Time Warner and from 1972 to 1990, Warner Communications) is an America ...
for home video and Turner for domestic television rights until 2003. He then merged it with his Pathé Communications Corporation (formerly
Cannon Group The Cannon Group, Inc. was an American group of companies, including Cannon Films, which produced films from 1967 to 1994. The extensive group also owned, amongst others, a large international cinema chain and a video film company that invested h ...
, a distributor that Parretti had renamed before his aborted bid for Pathé) to form MGM–Pathe Communications Co. The well-respected executive, Alan Ladd Jr., a former president of MGM/UA, was brought on board as CEO of MGM in 1991. However, a year later, Parretti's ownership of MGM–Pathé dissolved in a flurry of lawsuits and a default by Crédit Lyonnais, and Parretti faced
securities A security is a tradable financial asset A financial asset is a non-physical asset In financial accounting Financial accounting is the field of accounting Accounting or Accountancy is the measurement, processing, and communication o ...
-fraud charges in the United States and Europe. On the verge of bankruptcy and failure, Crédit Lyonnais took full control of MGM–Pathé via loan default in mid-1992 and converted its name back to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The bank fired Ladd and replaced him with former Paramount executive
Frank Mancuso Sr. Frank G. Mancuso (born July 25, 1933) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly ...
Mancuso then hired Michael Marcus as chairman, MGM Pictures and former Warner Bros. executive
John Calley John Nicholas Calley (July 8, 1930 – September 13, 2011) was an American film studio executive and producer. He was quite influential during his years at Warner Bros., where he worked from 1968 to 1981, and "produced a film a month, on average, ...
as United Artists head. A television production division was started up. As part of his exit package, Ladd took some of the top properties, including ''
Braveheart ''Braveheart'' is a 1995 American epic Epic commonly refers to: * Epic poetry, a long narrative poem celebrating heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation * Epic film, a genre of film with heroic elements Epic or EPIC may als ...

Braveheart
''. On December 21, 1992, MGM's 15% investment ($30 million in cash) in
Carolco Pictures Carolco Pictures, Inc. was an United States, American Independent film, independent motion picture production company that existed from 1976 to 1995, founded by Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna. Kassar and Vajna ran Carolco together until 1989, ...
plus a $30 million convertible note was approved by Carolco's board. MGM also started distributing Carolco's films in January 1994 after its deal with
TriStar Pictures TriStar Pictures, Inc. (spelled as Tri-Star until 1991 and stylized on-screen as TRISTAR since 1992) is an American film studio and production company that is a member of the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, a subsidiary of Sony Entertainmen ...

TriStar Pictures
ended. While MGM had to convince parent Credit Lyonnais to allow the deal, Lyonnais was Carolco's main lender thus allowing the bank to collect outstanding debts and extend a new line of credit. MGM Holdings, Inc. was formed to take on about $1 billion in MGM's liabilities off MGM's balance sheet in the third quarter of 1993. Credit Lyonnais extended a $400 million line of credit allowing a Chemical Bank lead bank group to extend a $350 million line of credit in 1994. In 1994, MGM had a hit in ''
Stargate ''Stargate'' (stylized as STARGᐰTE) is a military science fiction media franchise based on the film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ...
''. In May 1995, MGM agreed to distribute four of
Rysher Entertainment Rysher Entertainment, Inc. was an American film and television production company and distributor. It has the roots dating back to 1949 as Bing Crosby Productions, and was best known for the sitcom ''Hogan's Heroes'' and the medical drama ''Ben ...
's films in 1996 and 1997 and co-produce and co-finance two or three in that same period.


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Because of the way it had acquired control of the company, Crédit Lyonnais soon put the studio up for sale, with the highest bidder being Kirk Kerkorian. Now the owner of MGM for the third time, Kerkorian's deal with Mancuso quickly angered John Calley, who quit United Artists and was named head of Sony Pictures Entertainment. By selling a portion of the studio to Australia's
Seven Network The Seven Network (commonly known as Channel Seven or simply Seven) is a major Australian commercial free-to-air Television broadcasting in Australia, television network. It is owned by Seven West Media, Seven West Media Limited, and is one ...
, Kerkorian was able to convince Wall Street that a revived MGM was worthy of a place on the stock market, where it languished until he sold the company to a group of hedge funds tied to Sony, which wanted to control the studio library to promote the
Blu-ray Disc The Blu-ray Disc (BD), often known simply as Blu-ray, is a digital Digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits. Technology and computing Hardware *Digital electronics Digital electronics is a field of elec ...

Blu-ray Disc
format. On April 11, 1997, MGM bought
Metromedia Metromedia (also often MetroMedia) was an American media company that owned radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30&nbs ...
's film subsidiaries (
Orion Pictures Orion Pictures, legal name Orion Releasing LLC, is an American motion picture producer owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In its original operating period, the company produced and released films from 1978 until 1999 and was also involved in telev ...
,
The Samuel Goldwyn Company The Samuel Goldwyn Company was an American independent film An independent film, independent movie, indie film, or indie movie is a feature film or short film that is produced outside the major film studio system, in addition to being produc ...
, and the Motion Picture Corporation of America) for US$573 million, substantially enlarging its library of films and television series and acquiring additional production capacity. The deal closed in July of that year. This catalog, along with the
James Bond The ''James Bond'' series focuses on a fictional Secret Intelligence Service, British Secret Service agent created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short-story collections. Since Fleming's death in 1964 ...
franchise, was considered to be MGM's primary asset. In the same year, MGM's long-running cable television series, ''Stargate SG-1'', first aired. Kerkorian bought out Seven Network the following year. That year, MGM and Danjaq, Danjaq, LLC received a lawsuit from
Sony Pictures Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Sony Pictures or SPE, and formerly known as Columbia Pictures Entertainment Inc.) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment studio conglomerate Conglomerate or congl ...
in order to do a rival Bond franchise backed by Kevin McClory. MGM had acquired the rights to the unofficial Bond production ''Never Say Never Again'' from Jack Schwartzman's estate in the December of that year. In December 1997, MGM attempted to purchase 1,000 films held by Consortium de Réalisation, but was outbid by PolyGram. However, they ultimately succeeded when they acquired the 2/3 of pre-1996 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library from Seagram in 1999 for $250 million, increasing their library holdings to 4000. Prior to that, MGM had held a home video license for 100 of the films since spring 1997. The PolyGram libraries were purchased by its
Orion Pictures Orion Pictures, legal name Orion Releasing LLC, is an American motion picture producer owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In its original operating period, the company produced and released films from 1978 until 1999 and was also involved in telev ...
subsidiary so as to avoid its 1990 video distribution agreement with Warner. The studio also obtained the broadcast rights to more than 800 of its films previously licensed to Turner Broadcasting. By 1998, MGM had started a specialty film unit using The Samuel Goldwyn Company under the Goldwyn Films name. Samuel Goldwyn Jr. sued Metromedia over salary and damages when he worked at Goldwyn Company under Metromedia and sued MGM over the use of the Goldwyn name claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition. MGM and Metromedia settled on January 10, 1999, with MGM's Goldwyn Films changing its name to G2 Films. In the middle of that year, MGM and Sony settled in an out-of-court lawsuit that saw MGM trading its ''Spider-Man in film, Spider-Man'' film rights to Sony in exchange for having the rights to ''Casino Royale (novel), Casino Royale''. In 2000, MGM changed its overseas distribution arrangement. Since 1981, MGM had distributed its films internationally through United International Pictures (UIP), a joint venture of MGM, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures and
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Paramount Pictures
. UIP was accused by the European Union of being an illegal cartel, and effective November 2000 MGM severed its ties with UIP and distributed films internationally through
20th Century Fox 20th Century Studios, Inc. (also known as 20th Century for short, and nicknamed 20th Pictures, formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is an American film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a maj ...
. MGM purchased 20 percent of AMC Networks, Rainbow Media Group from Cablevision, Cablevision Systems for $825 million in 2001. MGM attempted to take over
Universal Studios Universal Pictures (legally Universal City Studios LLC, also known as Universal Studios, or simply Universal; common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an int ...

Universal Studios
in 2003, but failed, and was forced to sell several of its cable channel investments (taking a $75-million loss on the deal). In January 2002, MGM formed the MGM Entertainment Business Group with lawyer Darcie Denkert as president. This placed her in charge of MGM on Stage, the company's theatrical arm. Her friend Dean Stolber joined her as co-president of the theatrical unit.


MGM Holdings


Bidding war and corporate reorganization

In 2002, Kerkorian put MGM up for sale again, with a suggested sale price of $7 billion. In 2004, many of MGM's competitors started to make bids to purchase the studio, beginning with
Time Warner Warner Media, LLC ( traded as WarnerMedia, but stylized as WarnerMedia; formerly known as Time Warner from 1990 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2018; from 2001 to 2003, AOL Time Warner and from 1972 to 1990, Warner Communications) is an America ...
. It was not unexpected that Time Warner would bid, since the largest shareholder in the company was Ted Turner. His Turner Entertainment Group had risen to success in part through its ownership of the pre-May 1986 MGM library. After a short period of negotiation with MGM, Time Warner was unsuccessful. The leading bidder proved to be
Sony Corporation of America Sony Corporation of America (SONAM), based in New York City, is a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony, Sony Group Corporation. It serves as the company's US headquarters, and manages the company's US-based businesses. Sony's principal ...
, backed by Comcast and private equity firms Texas Pacific Group (now TPG Capital, L.P.), DLJ and
Providence Equity Partners Providence Equity Partners L.L.C. is an American global private equity Private equity (PE) typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that buy and restructure companies that are not publicly traded. P ...
. Sony's primary goal was to ensure Blu-ray Disc support at MGM; cost synergies with Sony Pictures Entertainment were secondary. Time Warner made a counter-bid (which Ted Turner reportedly tried to block), but on September 13, 2004, Sony increased its bid of US$11.25/share (roughly $4.7 billion) to $12/share ($5 billion), and Time Warner subsequently withdrew its bid of $11/share ($4.5 billion). MGM and Sony agreed on a purchase price of nearly $5 billion, of which about $2 billion was to pay off MGM's debt. From 2005 to 2006, the Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group domestically distributed films by MGM and UA. In 2006, MGM announced it would return as a theatrical distribution company. MGM struck deals with The Weinstein Company, Lakeshore Entertainment, Bauer Martinez, and many other independent studios, and then announced its plans to release 14 feature films for 2006 and early 2007. MGM also hoped to increase the amount to over 20 by 2007. ''Lucky Number Slevin'', released April 7, was the first film released under the new MGM era. The Weinstein distribution agreement covered three years and got Weinstein films, but was ended three months early. On May 31, 2006, MGM announced it would transfer the majority of MGM Home Entertainment, its home video output from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. MGM also announced plans to restructure its worldwide television distribution operation. In addition, MGM signed a deal with New Line Television in which MGM would handle New Line's U.S. film and series television syndication packages. MGM served as New Line's barter sales representative in the television arena until 2008. A Memorandum of understanding, tentative agreement was signed in Seoul on March 15, 2006, between MGM, South Korea-based entertainment agency Glovit and Busan city officials for a theme park scheduled to open in 2011. MGM Studio City was projected to cost $1.02 billion build on 245 acres owned by the city in a planned tourist district and contain 27 attractions, a film academy with movie sets, hotels, restaurants and shopping facilities. Glovit was expected to find funding and oversee management of the park, while MGM received a licensing agreement making them handle content and overall planning and the option to buy a 5%–10% share. On November 2, 2006, producer/actor Tom Cruise and his production partner, Paula Wagner, signed an agreement with MGM to run
United Artists United Artists Corporation (UA), currently doing business as United Artists Digital Studios, is an American digital production company. Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin Jr. (16 April ...
. Wagner served as United Artists' chief executive.


MGM in the digital age

Over the next several years, MGM launched a number of initiatives in distribution and the use of new technology and media, as well as joint ventures to promote and sell its products. In April 2007, it was announced that MGM movies would be able to be downloaded through Apple's iTunes service, with MGM bringing an estimated 100 of its existing movies to iTunes service, the California-based computer company revealed. The list of movies included the likes of modern features such as ''Rocky'', ''Ronin (film), Ronin'', ''Mad Max (film), Mad Max'', and ''Dances with Wolves'', along with more golden-era classics such as ''Lilies of the Field (1963 film), Lilies of the Field'' and ''The First Great Train Robbery, The Great Train Robbery''. In October, the company launched MGM HD on DirecTV, offering a library of movies formatted in Hi Def. Also in 2006, MGM licensed its home video distribution rights for countries outside of the United States to
20th Century Fox 20th Century Studios, Inc. (also known as 20th Century for short, and nicknamed 20th Pictures, formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is an American film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a maj ...
. MGM teamed up with Weigel Broadcasting to launch a new channel titled This TV on November 1, 2008. On August 12, 2008, MGM teamed up with
Comcast Comcast Corporation (formerly known as American Cable Systems and Comcast Holdings)Before the AT&T AT&T Inc. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in mult ...
to launch a new video-on-demand network titled Impact. On November 10, 2008, MGM announced that it will release full-length films on YouTube. On April 14, 2008, a South Korea government agency announced that MGM and Incheon International Airport Corporation agreed to build MGM Studio Theme Park. The selected site was a 1.5 million square meter Yeongjongdo island property near the Incheon International Airport. However, the park was designed but never built.


MGM files for bankruptcy

As of mid-2009, MGM had US$3.7 billion in debt, and interest payments alone totaled $250 million a year. MGM was earning approximately $500 million a year on income from its extensive film and television library, but the Late-2000s recession, economic recession is reported to have reduced this income substantially. Whether MGM could avoid voluntary or involuntary bankruptcy had been a topic of much discussion in the film industry. MGM had to repay a $250-million line of credit in April 2010, a $1-billion loan in June 2011, and its remaining US$2.7 billion in loans in 2012. In May 2009, MGM's auditor gave the company a clean bill of health, concluding it was still on track to meet its debt obligations. At that time, the company was negotiating with its creditors to either extend the debt repayment deadlines or engage in a debt-for-equity swap. Industry observers, however, questioned whether MGM could avoid a Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code, Chapter-11 bankruptcy filing under any circumstances, and concluded that any failure to conclude the negotiations must trigger a filing. MGM and its United Artists subsidiary were now producing very few films each year, and it was widely believed that MGM's solvency would depend on the box-office performance of these films (especially ''Skyfall''). There was some indication that Relativity Media and its financial backer, Elliott Associates (a hedge fund based in New York), had been acquiring MGM debt in an attempt to force the company into Bankruptcy in the United States#Voluntary versus involuntary bankruptcy, involuntary bankruptcy. On August 17, 2009, chief executive officer Harry E. Sloan stepped down and MGM hired Stephen F. Cooper as its new CEO, a corporate executive who guided Enron through its post-2001 bankruptcy and oversaw the restructuring and growth of Krispy Kreme in 2005. Expectations were that Cooper was hired to act quickly on MGM's debt problems. On October 1, 2009, the studio's new leadership negotiated a forbearance agreement with its creditors under which interest payments due from September to November 2009 did not have to be paid until December 15, 2009. MGM stated in February 2010 that the studio would likely be sold in the next four months, and that its latest film, ''Hot Tub Time Machine'', might be one of the last four films to bear the MGM name. However, some stated that the company might continue as a label for new James Bond productions, as well as other movie properties culled from the MGM library. MGM Holdings, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and 160 affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 3, 2010, with a prepackaged plan for exiting bankruptcy which led to MGM's creditors taking over the company. On December 20, 2010, MGM executives announced that the studio had emerged from bankruptcy.
Spyglass Entertainment Spyglass Media Group, LLC, formerly Spyglass Entertainment, is an American film production company founded by Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum in 1998. History Spyglass Entertainment In August 1998, Gary Barber, former vice chairman and COO of Morg ...
executives
Gary Barber Gary Barber (born 1957) is a South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 59 million people, it is the world's List of countri ...
and
Roger Birnbaum Roger Birnbaum (born November 14, 1950) is an American film producer who owns the company Spyglass Entertainment, and was co-CEO and co-chairman of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. His two greatest box office hits as producer have been ''Rush Hour 2'' and ''T ...
became co-Chairs and co-CEOs of the studio.


Post-bankruptcy era

On January 4, 2011, MGM and Weigel Broadcasting announced plans to distribute MeTV nationwide. On February 2, 2011, MGM named Jonathan Glickman to be the film president of MGM. Six days later, MGM was finalizing a distribution deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to handle distribution of its 4,000 films and DVDs worldwide and on digital platforms, including the two upcoming Bond films: ''Skyfall'' and ''Spectre (2015 film), Spectre''. There were four studios who were bidding on the Bond distribution rights:
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Paramount Pictures
, Warner Bros. Pictures,
20th Century Fox 20th Century Studios, Inc. (also known as 20th Century for short, and nicknamed 20th Pictures, formerly Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation) is an American film studio A film studio (also known as movie studio or simply studio) is a maj ...
, and Columbia Pictures. Paramount was the first studio who dropped out of the Bond bidding. The deal was finalized on April 13, 2011. Post-bankruptcy, MGM also co-financed SPE's ''The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011 film), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo''. 20th Century Fox's deal with MGM handling its library distribution worldwide was set to expire in September 2011. However, the deal was renewed and extended on April 14, 2011 and, after five years, was renewed and extended again on June 27, 2016. It was expired in June 2020. MGM moved forward with several upcoming projects, including remakes of ''RoboCop (1987 film), RoboCop'' and ''
Poltergeist In ghostlore, a poltergeist ( or ; German for "loud ghost" or "noisy spirit") is a type of ghost or spirit that is responsible for physical disturbances, such as loud noises and objects being moved or destroyed. Most claims about or fictional de ...
'', and released their first post-bankruptcy film ''Zookeeper (film), Zookeeper'', which was co-distributed by Columbia Pictures on July 8, 2011. The new MGM, under Barber and Birnbaum's control, focuses on co-investing on films made by another party, which handle all distribution and marketing for the projects. MGM handles international television distribution rights for the new films as well as its library of existing titles and also retains its in-house production service. In separate 2011 deals, the rights to MGM's completed films ''Red Dawn (2012 film), Red Dawn'' and ''The Cabin in the Woods'' were dealt to FilmDistrict as well as Lionsgate Films, respectively. On October 3, 2012, Birnbaum announced his intention to exit his role as an MGM executive and return to "hands-on" producing. He will remain with the studio to produce films on "an exclusive basis". In December 2012, Denkert retired as co-president of MGM on Stage after producing five Broadway and West End plays. In May 2014, MGM introduced The Works (TV network), The Works, a channel available in 31 percent of the country, including stations owned by Titan Broadcast Management. In 2013, the Orion brand was revived as a television production label for a syndicated court show. The Orion Pictures name was extended in fourth quarter 2014 for smaller domestic and international video on demand and limited theatrical releases. In March 2017, MGM announced a multi-year distribution deal with Annapurna Pictures for some international markets and including home entertainment, theatrical and television rights. Later on October 31, 2017, the two companies formed a US distribution joint venture called Mirror Releasing. However, this partnership will not be exclusive to all MGM films, as several of them will continue to be released through existing studio partners, such as
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
and Paramount Pictures, Paramount. It also does not include newly relaunched
Orion Pictures Orion Pictures, legal name Orion Releasing LLC, is an American motion picture producer owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In its original operating period, the company produced and released films from 1978 until 1999 and was also involved in telev ...
. On February 5, 2019, Annapurna and MGM rebranded and expanded their US distribution joint venture as United Artists Releasing, marking another revival of the United Artists brand, with the Orion Pictures distribution team and films joining the venture. The decision was made to coincide with the United Artists brand's 100th anniversary. MGM's films on DVD and Blu-ray would continue to be released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment until June 2020. Following the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations in October 2017, MGM was listed as one of 22 potential buyers interested in acquiring The Weinstein Company. In October 2017, MGM's board renewed Gary Barber's contract as chairman and CEO until December 2022. In February 2018, Chris Brearton, the former media M&A attorney of Latham and Watkins, was appointed as chief operating officer. On March 19, 2018, MGM Holdings announced that Barber had been fired by the studio's board of directors. MGM gave no reason for his firing. For the interim, the company would be led by the newly formed "Office of the CEO". In April 2019, MGM signed a two-year, first-look deal for films with Smokehouse Pictures, owned by George Clooney and Grant Heslov. The deal's first film is an unnamed John DeLorean film based on journalist Alex Pappademas’ Epic magazine article "Saint John", written by Keith Bunin and Clooney as director with a possibility of starring. In April 2019, MGM made a multi-film non-exclusive creative partnership with AGBO Films to co-develop, co-produce and co-finance a slate from the MGM library. The deal includes a new film projects joint development fund with the first film under the deal to be a remake of ''The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 film), The Thomas Crown Affair''. MGM agreed to a $100 million co-financing slate deal with Bron Studios, Bron Creative in June 2019. The slate consisted of at least nine films including three Orion Pictures films. MGM was the first studio to delay the film ''No Time to Die'' due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was followed by an April 2020 layoff of 7% of employees. A shuffle of top executives occurred in the first four months. Glickman left in January 2020 and replaced by Michael De Luca as chairman of the motion picture group. A motion picture group president, veteran executive and producer Pamela Abdy, was named in early April. Co-presidents of production Cassidy Lange, Adam Rosenberg left by May 1, 2020. In May 2020, MGM made an investment, facilitated by its television group, in Audio Up podcast production studio, platform and network. Audio Up would also produce 5 podcasts per year for MGM and agreed to an exclusive first look for its works. Later that month, MGM agreed to a two-year film and television first-look development deal with Killer Films. In 2013 and 2015, Starz Inc., Starz Entertainment signed exclusive film licensing agreements with MGM for 585 movies and 176 television series. In August 2019, Starz found a film in the agreement on a streaming service which MGM agreed was under the agreement and had it pulled. Starz pressed them and MGM admitted in November that 244 films and television series were being shown on other platforms including Epix. MGM indicated that month that the license tracking system was fixed. Finding films on other platforms a month later, Starz found an additional 100 films on other platforms. With this seeming to diminish their channel's value to cable operators, Starz sued on May 4, 2020, to uncover all contract violations.


Proposed sale to Amazon (2021–present)

In December 2020, MGM began to explore a potential sale of the studio, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the domination of streaming platforms due to the closure of movie theaters as contributing factors. The company hired Morgan Stanley and LionTree Advisors to handle the process on behalf of the studio. On May 17, 2021, online retail and technology company
Amazon Amazon usually refers to: * Amazons In Greek mythology, the Amazons (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαζόνες ''Amazónes'', singular Ἀμαζών ''Amazōn'') are portrayed in a number of ancient Greek, ancient epic poems and legends, such as the ...
entered negotiations to acquire the studio. The negotiations were made directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich whose Anchorage Capital Group is a major shareholder. On May 26, 2021, it was officially announced that MGM will be acquired by Amazon for $8.45 billion, subject to regulatory approvals and other routine closing conditions; with the studio continuing to operate as a label under Amazon's existing content arm, complementing Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime Video.


Headquarters

Since August 22, 2011, its headquarters have been in
Beverly Hills, California Beverly Hills is a city in . Located within and surrounded by the cities of and , it had a population of 34,109 at the and an estimated population of 33,792 in 2019. The city is home to many celebrities, luxury hotels, and the shopping dist ...
. MGM rents space in a six-story office building. The facility was originally constructed for the venerable William Morris Agency, William Morris talent agency, but had remained all but unoccupied until MGM's move because of the agency's merger with Endeavor Talent Agency in April 2009. MGM planned to house a private theater and a private outdoor patio in the building. Prior to 2003, its headquarters had been in the Colorado Center in Santa Monica, California, occupying at least of space there. In 2000, MGM announced that it was moving its headquarters to a new building in Century City, Los Angeles, Century City that was to be the first high-rise in Los Angeles to be completed in the 21st century. Upon the company's agreement to be its lead tenant halfway through the design building process, the structure became identified as the MGM Tower, opening in 2003. When MGM moved into the lavishly appointed spaces devised by Alex Yemenidjian, former chairperson and chief executive of MGM, Roger Vincent and Claudia Eller observed in the ''Los Angeles Times'' that "Yemenidjian spared no expense in building out the studio's space with such
Las Vegas Las Vegas (; for "The Meadows"), often known simply as Vegas, is the in the United States, the most populous city in the of , and the of . The city anchors the metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater . Las Vegas is ...
-style flourishes as towering marble pillars and a grand spiral staircase lined with a wall of awards." Scott Johnson, the architect, designed the bottom third of the tower with extra-large floors so MGM executives could have outdoor decks. Seemingly no expense was spared, from the marble imported from Italy for MGM's area to the company's exclusive use of a dedicated private garage, security checkpoint, and elevator bank: all to enable celebrities who visited the complex discreet entry and exit, bypassing public spaces. One of three screening rooms placed in the tower was a 100-seat theater on the ground floor (later taken over by International Creative Management in December 2010). The 14th-floor lobby housed the executive suites and a wall of Oscar statuettes for
Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry The film industry or motion picture industry comprises the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking F ...
-winning films. The street leading to the building's garage was renamed MGM Drive and a large MGM logo, illuminated at night, crowned the top of the building. As of December 2010, MGM rented of space in the MGM Tower at a cost of almost $5 per square foot per month. Emerging from bankruptcy protection in 2010, MGM announced that it planned to relocate the headquarters to Beverly Hills as part of an effort toward removing almost $5 billion in debt since the lease in Century City was not scheduled to expire until 2018. Vincent and Eller said that MGM's per square foot monthly rent would be far lower in the Beverly Hills building than in the MGM Tower. Larry Kozmont, a real estate consultant not involved in the process, said "It's a prudent move for them. Downsizing and relocating to a space that is still prominent but not overly ostentatious and burdened by expenses is fundamental for their survival." MGM vacated its namesake tower on August 19, 2011.


Leo logo and mottos

The studio's official motto, "''Ars Gratia Artis''", is a Latin phrase meaning "Art for art's sake". It was chosen by Howard Dietz, the studio's chief publicist. The studio's logo is a roaring lion surrounded by a ring of film inscribed with the studio's motto. The logo, which features Leo the Lion (MGM), Leo the Lion, was created by Dietz in 1916 for Goldwyn Pictures and updated in 1924 for MGM's use. Dietz based the logo on his alma mater's mascot, the Columbia University lion. Originally silent, the sound of Leo the Lion's roar was added to films for the first time in August 1928. In the 1930s and 1940s, the studio billed itself as having "more stars than there are in heaven", a reference to the large number of A-list movie stars under contract to the company. This second motto was also coined by Dietz and was first used in 1932. On March 8, 2021, the studio unveiled a rebrand centered on the "Ars Gratia Artis" motto across its social media and marketing platforms and a photorealistic CGI version of its Leo the Lion emblem and logo.


Film library


Turner Entertainment Co.

Following his brief ownership of the company in 1986, Ted Turner formed Turner Entertainment, Turner Entertainment Co. as a holding company for the pre-May 1986 MGM film and television library, which he retained. After Turner's holdings were purchased by Time Warner in 1996, they ultimately became integrated into the
Warner Bros. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (commonly known as Warner Bros. and abbreviated as WB) is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Warner Bros. Studios complex in Burbank, California ...
library, though Turner remains the credited copyright holder. For several years after the sale, MGM continued to distribute home video releases of its pre-May 1986 film and television library and began to handle home video distribution of the pre-1950 Warner Bros. films; those rights were reassigned to Warner Home Video in 1999.


Film series


Distribution

Domestically, MGM's films are currently distributed by United Artists#United Artists Releasing, United Artists Releasing, the former Mirror Releasing. From 1924 to 1973 (worldwide) and 1981 to 2010 (domestically), MGM has theatrically distributed most of its movies entirely in-house, as well as those of United Artists after July 1981 and Orion Pictures after April 1997. In October 2017, seven years after shutting down their major distribution operations, MGM re-entered US theatrical distribution by launching an American joint venture with Annapurna Pictures that will share distribution financing between the two companies and release certain MGM and Annapurna films, beginning with Death Wish (2018 film), the 2018 remake of ''Death Wish (1974 film), Death Wish''. There were also periods when they outsourced distribution to other companies. From 1973 to 1981, United Artists released its films in North America while Cinema International Corporation released them overseas. In 1981, United Artists' international arm was combined by CIC to form United International Pictures. MGM's arrangement with that company lasted until 2000, when it made an arrangement with 20th Century Fox for international distribution. From 2005 to 2016, the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group has distributed certain films. From 2006 to 2010, Alliance Films handled Canadian distribution of some of its products. Since 2019, Universal Pictures International distributed MGM films overseas. They also distributed films from
Carolco Pictures Carolco Pictures, Inc. was an United States, American Independent film, independent motion picture production company that existed from 1976 to 1995, founded by Mario Kassar and Andrew G. Vajna. Kassar and Vajna ran Carolco together until 1989, ...
(1994–1995, in North America),
Rysher Entertainment Rysher Entertainment, Inc. was an American film and television production company and distributor. It has the roots dating back to 1949 as Bing Crosby Productions, and was best known for the sitcom ''Hogan's Heroes'' and the medical drama ''Ben ...
(1996–1997), and The Weinstein Company/Dimension Films (2006–2008, in the United States), as well as currently handling select international distribution of Annapurna Pictures' releases. From 2006 to September 2008, MGM distributed films produced or acquired by The Weinstein Company (TWC). Weinstein preferred the deal brought carriage on Showtime (TV network), Showtime. Prints and marketing were paid for by TWC, while MGM was paid for booking theaters. With TWC agreeing to a direct deal with Showtime and MGM not intending to renew the distribution deal, TWC and MGM agreed to end the distribution deal three months early in September 2008.


Other international arrangements

In 2012, MGM signed a deal with Cinema City International, Forum Film to release its films in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Israel; Forum Film has also been known to release some of MGM's films in Czech Republic/Slovakia. That same year, in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, MGM arranged to get its films distributed through AB Svensk Filmindustri, which was renamed to SF Studios in 2016. Also in 2012, it arranged to have its films distributed by SF Film Finland, FS Film (now SF Film Finland) to release its films in Finland and with NOS Audiovisuais, ZON Lusomundo (now NOS Audiovisuais) to release its films in Portugal. In 2018, for select films, MGM made international distribution deals with Entertainment One (for the Canadian market), Vertigo Releasing (for the UK market), Rialto Distribution (for the Australian market), Ascot Elite Entertainment Group (for the Swiss market), BF Distribution (for the Argentinean market), Dutch FilmWorks (for the Dutch market), Kinepolis Film Distribution (for the Belgian film market), Odeon (for the Greek market), OctoArts Films (for the Filipino market), Universum Film (for the German market), Filmax, Filmax International (for the Spanish market), Hollywood International Film Exchange/Big Screen Entertainment Group (for the Chinese market), Shaw Organisation (for the Singaporean market), and Showgate (for the Japanese market).
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech A figure of speech or rhetorical figure is a word or phrase that entails an intentional deviation from ordinary language use in order to produce a rhetoric ...

Paramount Pictures
distributed the 2018 remake of ''Death Wish (2018 film), Death Wish'' for the French market.


See also


Notes


References


Bibliography

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Further reading

* * * * * * * *


External links

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