After the storied studio emerged from bankruptcy in late 2010 with an injection of $500M in funding, former co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment Barber revitalized and transformed MGM, but also expanded the TV and film brand’s distribution footprint across traditional and digital platforms.
MGM continues to own one of the deepest major studio libraries in town, and during Barber’s tenure the James Bond franchise saw its highest global grosses ever with 2012’s Skyfall which minted $1.1 billion. The 25th 007 movie is scheduled to return to theaters on Nov. 8, 2019 with Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli producing. MGM, along with co-rights owner and partner, Danjaq, are stewards of the James Bond franchise. Barber’s MGM reign also resuscitated the Rocky franchise with its spinoff Creed ($173.6M global) about the son of Rocky Balboa foe Apollo Creed. Rocky creator Sylvester Stallone is penning the sequel. Next up for MGM is Eli Roth’s reboot of Death Wish via Annapurna which now opens March 2 of next year (not the Thanksgiving stretch as originally planned).
This year has been a vibrant one for MGM: They completed the $1.2 billion acquisition of Epix, the premium pay television network founded by MGM, Viacom and Lionsgate; relaunched Orion Pictures as a new stand-alone U.S. theatrical marketing and distribution company, and generated continued growth and expansion of its wholly owned and joint venture television channels and multi-cast networks.
During Q1, MGM posted $35.7M in net income, with a $124 million non-cash gain which reflected the new value for its 19.1% stake in Epix that it owned before picking up its partners’ stakes. MGM had carried it at $105 million, but the new deal valued it at $229 million. Barber foresees a huge growth opportunity for premium content on Epix. Outside of Epix, MGM had an excellent Emmy season with MGM Television’s The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu winning eight primetime Emmys including best drama and best drama lead actress Elisabeth Moss. MGM Television is also behind FX’s Fargo which earned 16 Emmy nominations in its third season and a win for Jeff Russo’s original limited series dramatic score.
Back in July, MGM acquired 30-year old independent reality producer Evolution Media,which is behind such series as The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Vanderpump Rules for Bravo, as well Botched for the E! network. Mark Burnett is president of MGM’s TV division.
Commenting on Barber’s contract extension, Kevin Ulrich, Chief Executive Officer of Anchorage Capital Group, L.L.C. and newly appointed Chairman of MGM’s Board of Directors said in a statement, “Gary is a dynamic leader and during the past seven years, MGM has regained its prominence as a leading entertainment company. He has developed a focused, strategic vision, which combined with a strong financial discipline, has positioned MGM for future growth and innovation. We have every confidence he will continue to lead this company in an exemplary fashion.”
Barber added, “MGM has a great legacy and leading this tremendous organization has been among the most rewarding experiences of my career. Kevin and the Board’s support have been invaluable as we continue to execute on the company’s strategic initiatives. I am also very proud of the world-class team we have here at MGM, whose passion, creativity and contributions cannot be overstated. I look forward
to working with them to drive the company to new heights.”
The terms of Barber’s deal were not disclosed.