MGM Cuts 7% Of Staff In Wake Of COVID-19 Pandemic, United Artists Furloughs Third Of Staff


Deadline has confirmed that MGM has cut 7% of its 750 member staff — roughly 50 jobs– across all departments including scripted, unscripted TV and feature film.

Meanwhile distribution joint venture with Annapurna, United Artists Releasing has furloughed a third of their marketing and distribution staff. Staffers there are poised to start back early in the summer when cinemas begin to re-open. First up for UAR is Bill & Ted Face the Music on Aug. 21.

All senior management executives are taking salary cuts across all MGM divisions, and United Artists Releasing. Variety broke the story.

Deadline first broke the news that MGM/UAR was moving their 007 movie No Time to Die from Easter weekend this year, April 10-12 to Thanksgiving in order to wait out the COVID-19 outbreak and release the highly anticipated tentpole, reportedly Daniel Craig’s last, in a healthy marketplace including China where Bond pic overperform. The pic took a reported $30M loss in P&A due to the rescheduling. MGM/UAR was the first major studio who saw the clouds of the coronavirus coming and re-schedule their movie. The re-dating started a chain reaction among the majors to move their event pics to later in the year or 2021.

Annapurna recently made TV and film suit cuts, including CFO James Pong in addition to making pay cuts among senior brass.

Below is a note to MGM staffers:

Copy of the internal memo shared with employees follows below.

April 24, 2020

Dear Team,

We are writing today to provide an update on MGM’s response to COVID-19 and the steps we are taking to address the current challenges facing our industry and to ensure the continued strength of our company. Our priority remains the health and well-being of the employees, talent and critical support staff who together produce and distribute MGM’s exceptional content.

While MGM remains in a strong position overall, the extraordinary events related to the global pandemic have impacted our entire industry, with virtually all global productions currently on hold and film releases delayed. The most difficult part of this situation from a business perspective, as you can imagine, is that we do not know when this will change.

In the face of these global economic and industry business challenges, we have undertaken certain actions to mitigate the current financial impact on our business and to ensure MGM is well positioned for the future. To that end, we are reconfiguring certain divisions of the studio to allow MGM to operate more effectively in a changing media landscape, both during this pandemic, and beyond. Unfortunately, these changes necessitate some permanent reductions of our workforce. All impacted employees have been notified.

The MGM senior management team have taken voluntary pay reductions across all divisions of the company.

Please know that we did not make these decisions lightly. We are deeply grateful to our friends and colleagues for their contributions to the studio and are working to support them with this transition.

We remain committed to facing these challenging circumstances together and are confident MGM will emerge stronger on the other side. Our content is performing extremely well and our library, one of Hollywood’s largest, is as valuable and as productive as ever both in the U.S. and abroad. MGM will continue to operate our business for long term success.

Thank you to everyone in the MGM family during this ever-changing situation and to all those who continue to successfully manage our global operations under incredibly difficult conditions.

Stay safe and well,

MGM Leadership

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