EXCLUSIVE: The continuing uncertainty over who will own MGM has prompted the studio and Sony Pictures Entertainment to change its strategy on their comedy co-production Zookeeper, which bows in October. Columbia Pictures will replace MGM as the domestic theatrical distributor of the Frank Coraci-directed film which stars Kevin James., Rosario Dawson, and a voice cast for the animals that includes Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone and Judd Apatow. Sony already was aboard to distribute offshore. While MGM will retain TV rights and the studios continue to have equal profit participation, the lingering questions about the studio’s ongoing financial reorganization prompted MGM co-CEO Mary Parent and Sony Pictures Worldwide Marketing & Distribution chairman Jeff Blake to make the joint announcement. While MGM handled the release of the comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, the move was made on Zookeeper to ensure that the marketing and release campaign wasn’t affected by a reorganization that still hasn’t been resolved. Days ago, MGM announced it had received more time from its lenders, after an auction resulted in a few underwhelming bids that would hardly have eased the crushing debt obligation that has hamstrung Parent and her MGM team. Zookeeper is produced by Happy Madison and Broken Road.
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