Sony and MGM have been in bed together for some time. One of many investors in the company, Sony has released the last two Bond films, and wants to release the next two as well, reports the the LATimes. Streamlined MGM has been strapped for cash for some time, come through bankruptcy, and now has two new CEOs, industry vets Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber, who are seeking to avoid the risk and expense of marketing and releasing their own movies. They are talking to several studios about a worldwide distribution deal for MGM’s films and home video, as well as financing on some films such as Sam Mendes’ Bond 23, starring Daniel Craig.
Fox currently releases the MGM library worldwide, but that deal ends in September. MGM has already closed a separate deal with Warner Bros. to finance and distribute Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit; MGM owns half the rights. Sony seems to be the most eager to come to terms with MGM, but the deal is complex and far from complete, reports Ben Fritz:
As part of the arrangement under discussion, Sony would fund half of MGM’s next James Bond movie, which is planned for release Nov. 9, 2012, and 25% of a potential follow-up. Sony co-financed and released MGM’s last two Bond movies, “Casino Royale” and “Quantum of Solace,” making it a logical home for Hollywood’s longest-running franchise.
Sony would also release all future films made by MGM and the studio’s already completed movies “Red Dawn” and “Cabin in the Woods,” as well as handle sales of its 4,000-title library on DVD and digital platforms.