Bloomberg.com is reporting that MGM creditors are canvassing Hollywood execs to run a studio the creditors would keep rather than sell off at fire sale price. The report lists Peter Chernin, Jonathan Dolgen, Spyglass partners Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber as execs who’ve met recently. Joe Roth, Rick Sands and Chris McGurk also met but weren’t interested, per the story by Ronald Grover and Michael White.
My question is: if the creditors are determined to make a go and revive the Lion, why not let MGM Motion Picture Group chairman Mary Parent get back in there and do her job? It is interesting that the report follows one by Deadline, about how Sony execs were so blown away by a screening of the Kevin James comedy Zookeeper that the film was moved from this fall to a prime time summer 2011 slot? Parent bought that comedy as a spec and made the film with Sony as co-production partner, with Sony taking over distribution because of uncertainty surrounding MGM’s ownership. Okay, Fame didn’t work (she inherited it) and Hot Tub Time Machine (the first film she made) wasn’t a huge hit (though it was silly fun and wasn’t expected to be a blockbuster). But aside from Zookeeper, Parent and her team put together a killer package for the Robert Ludlum novel The Matarese Circle with David Cronenberg directing and Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise going mano a mano, and she somehow assembled a Three Stooges package with Jim Carrey, Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro and Pete and Bobby Farrelly directing. She made the Drew Goddard-directed Cabin in the Woods, co-written by Joss Whedon, who’ll direct Marvel’s Avengers movie. And Michael Vollman is a skilled marketer who knows how to open movies.
Now, all of this could be moot if you take seriously the comments that Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes made on a conference call with investors this week, where he noted that a buy of MGM might make sense at the right price. But if the debt holders are serious about ramping up MGM again, it might help to remember there are talented execs on the premises, unable to do their jobs while the studio sits paralyzed because of the crushing debt load.