EXCLUSIVE: MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman has re-upped with the studio in a three-year deal that will take him through 2020 and keep him overseeing films and a new mandate to turn library properties into live stage productions. This was confirmed by MGM chairman/CEO Gary Barber, to whom he reports. Glickman worked for both Barber and Roger Birnbaum when that duo took over MGM at a time when the studio was just beginning to emerge from bankruptcy.
Back in 2011, the company folded its film distribution arm and set out to co-finance and generate movies based on properties in its library, with a gradual move into original productions. The strategy has been effective. MGM has since been at the center of generating the two highest grossing James Bond films in Skyfall and Spectre with Sony, as well as Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy (with New Line), and scored a hit last fall with the Ryan Coogler-directed Rocky franchise reprise Creed, with Sly Stallone landing a Best Supporting Oscar nomination. The MGM/Sony Antoine Fuqua-directed reinvention of The Magnificent Seven is opening the Toronto Film Festival next month, and MGM’s push into original productions resulted in Me Before You, the $19 million budget adaptation of the Jojo Moyes novel that became a bona fide sleeper that grossed $188 million worldwide. Next up is Ben-Hur, the Timur Bekmambetov-directed remake of the epic that has Jack Huston in the chariot-racer role originated by Charlton Heston and which MGM made with Paramount Pictures.
Glickman will continue to oversee the development and production of those feature films, and he is also spearheading what will be a bigger emphasis on turning those classic library titles into stage productions, a move that started with Rocky. On the feature side, MGM is in pre-production on the Roar Uthaug-directed Tomb Raider, with Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander playing the Lara Croft role originated by Angelina Jolie; and Death Wish, the Eli Roth-directed drama that will see Bruce Willis taking on the vigilante role originated by Charles Bronson. There is also Sherlock Gnomes, a co-production with Paramount that is produced by Elton John’s Rocket Pictures, and an adaptation of the Nicola Yoon bestseller Everything Is Everything.
Further up the road is an adaptation of the Terry Hayes espionage novel I Am Pilgrim which Matthew Vaughn will direct; the Max Landis-scripted underwater thriller Deeper that Bradley Cooper will star in and Kornel Mundrezco will direct; a revival of The Thomas Crown Affair franchise as a vehicle for Creed star Michael B. Jordan with a script by Captain America: Civil War helmers Joe and Anthony Russo; the animated feature The Addams Family, and a reinvention of the Roland Emmerich/Dean Devlin sci-fi franchise Stargate. Then, of course, there is the biggest one, the 007 franchise for MGM and Eon Productions. Spectre was the last film in the Sony deal and studios including Warner Bros are believed to be jockeying alongside Sony for the next multi-picture deal. It’s also unclear whether Daniel Craig will return or whether a newcomer like Ben-Hur‘s Huston, Tom Hiddleston or Idris Elba will drive the Aston Martin. MGM is also partnered with Sony in the next 21 Jump Street, which is expected to cross pollinate with Men In Black. MGM got a co-financing stake in that film as a byproduct of Sony’s last James Bond re-up.
Glickman previously was president of Spyglass Entertainment, and before that he produced the Rush Hour franchise and was exec producer of Grosse Point Blank and While You Were Sleeping. He’s also the son of Dan Glickman, the former chairman/CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Said Barber: “Jon and I have worked closely together over the past 18 years and his taste and commitment to the job continues to impress me. He has done a terrific job of developing powerful films from both original material as well as utilizing our stories library to reimagine many classic films and IP to great success.”
Glickman said he was “thrilled to continue working with Gary and the sensational team we have built together at MGM. Not only do I look forward to continuing to collaborate with some of the most inspiring creative minds in the motion picture business, but I also look forward to the opportunity of bringing our celebrated titles to the live stage.”