This is not surprising news. “There’s no drama here. He wants to produce,” an insider tells me about Roger Birnbaum’s decision. “He was just done with the business side. He now wants to focus only on movies and talent.” Understandable since it took Birnbaum and longtime partner Gary Barber two years to take over MGM after its bankruptcy and return it to a firmer footing with both its creditors and the Hollywood community. “Everybody’s happy – and Roger is ecstatic,” the insider adds. Here’s the announcement:
October 3, 2012 (Los Angeles, CA) – Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum today announced that Birnbaum will transition to an exclusive producer role at the studio, while Barber will become the sole Chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. Birnbaum will remain in his current offices in MGM’s executive suite and will produce and develop new projects exclusively for the company. The announcement marks a return to hands-on producing for Birnbaum. He will first serve as executive producer and oversee production of the José Padilha reboot of the 1980s classic ROBOCOP, which started principal photography on September 15. Other upcoming projects he plans to produce include films based on DEATHWISH, WAR GAMES and MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.
“Gary and I decided, 2 years ago, to accept the challenge of joining MGM and restoring the company to its rightful place in the industry. I am very proud
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One day after making a deal to co-finance the next two James Bond films and other feature films over the next five years, MGM chiefs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum solidified another piece of the reawakening studio’s puzzle by renewing its DVD deal with Fox through 2016. Here’s the official announcement:
LOS ANGELES, CA April 14, 2011 – MGM announced today that the company has renewed its worldwide Blu-ray Disc and DVD distribution pact with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment through 2016. As part of the new agreement, Fox will now oversee electronic-sell-through for MGM titles and will continue to handle MGM’s vast and extensive movie and television library, as well as distribute several upcoming new release productions in the home entertainment market, including the next JAMES BOND film, set for global theatrical release on November 9, 2012.”
“Twentieth Century Fox is a valued partner that has taken great care of the MGM library for many years with the highest degree of integrity,” said Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of MGM. “They are a tremendous asset to the studio as we look towards the future.”
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I heard about a few secret layoffs at MGM right before Christmas 2010, and as recently as January 28th. Today, MGM laid off its entire Digital Department before the big move to the studio’s new Beverly Hills location. Post-bankrupt MGM is now under the control of Spyglass Entertainment’s Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum.
John Bryan has been promoted to president Domestic Television Distribution for MGM. Bryan, who is currently EVP MGM Domestic TV, created the studio’s premium channel This TV. Under his new title, he will continue to work on This TV, the launch of ME TV, first-run syndication programming and sales for titles from MGM’s film and TV library. He reports to MGM co-chairmen and CEOs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum. John Bryan joined MGM in 2006 after 17 years at Buena Vista TV where he rose to EVP sales.
2ND UPDATE: MGM has just confirmed Deadline’s report that it has formally named Spyglass partners Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum its new chairmen/CEOs, and the studio has just issued a press release describing its reorganization effort. It appears below. What isn’t answered is whether MGM will be revived as an entity that strips off its distribution and marketing arms, and makes a distribution deal for product that will include the next installment of James Bond. Deadline was first to tell you on June 29 that the reorganization plan called for MGM to reemerge as a production facility. The advantage is saving money on manpower and other costs, but eventually some of that would be wiped out by having to pay a distribution fee to someone else. What is clear is that the recent MGM developments put Mary Parent one step closer to the exit, and already, rumors are making the rounds of where she will land a production deal. I called the offices of Birnbaum and Barber but was told they are prohibited from commenting at this point.
UPDATE: I’m told that MGM will shortly announce Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum as its new co-chairmen/CEOs, effective once MGM emerges from Chapter 11. They don’t officially take office until MGM emerges from bankruptcy. This is part of the long expected restructuring plan, as MGM brass has begun to solicit votes from lenders to convert 100% of the … Read More »