MGM‘s legendary United Artists label will return with Tom Cruise and his producing partner Paula Wagner at the helm, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. chairman and CEO Harry E. Sloan announced today. In the wake of ending their long relationship with Paramount, Wagner will serve as CEO of the new UA and she and Cruise will maintain a substantial ownership of the unit and control the company’s production slate of about four films per year. The output may increase in the future according to an announcement, which added, “The talent friendly studio will be reborn as a place where producers, writers, directors and actors can thrive in a creative environment, developing and producing entertaining film projects. The plan would allow artists throughout the community to pursue their creative visions outside of the traditional studio system.” Cruise will star in an produce projects for United Artists but will still be free to work with movies at studios. The move follows the recent rebirth of MGM as a standalone entity; United Artists was last re-envisioned in 2001 when it was relaunched as MGM’s specialty division and headed by Bingham Ray. Worldwide marketing and distribution for the new UA will be handled by MGM. In a statement, Cruise said today:
Paula and I are very respectful of the rich history and tradition of United Artists, and we welcome the opportunity to contribute to that legacy by providing a wide range of releases that appeal to all audiences. It’s our desire to create an environment where filmmakers can thrive and see their visions realized.
United Artists was founded in 1919 by Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith. [Eugene Hernandez]