EXCLUSIVE: MGM has acquired Let’s Get Married, a comic pitch that will be fast tracked as a star vehicle for Jillian Bell. Bell, who stars in Comedy Central’s Workaholics and HBO’s Eastbound & Down, as well as …
Listen to (and share) Episode 59 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. Deadline’s financial editor joins host David Bloom and Jonathan Geller of Deadline’s sibling site BGR.com in talking about the mobile business, starting with the fundamental face-off between Apple and Google over mobile business models. They also talk about the prospects for Samsung, Microsoft and BlackBerry; T-Mobile’s radical new approach to the mobile phone business; a new study suggesting more than half of Internet bandwidth is consumed by just two sites, YouTube and Netflix; and the dubious future of next-generation video game consoles as Sony launches the PS4 today and Microsoft debuts the Xbox One in a week.
Separately, the two Davids pick through the most notable news from this week’s media earnings reports, including MGM’s 2012 gifts that keep giving, CBS and Dish Network doing a dance around the Hopper and Viacom’s debt to Miley Cyrus and some zombies.
MGM and the producer of the James Bond movies have finally acquired all of the rights to the 007 franchise. After a legal battle royale that has gone on more than 50 years, the studio and Danjaq today announced they now have all of the rights and interests to the British spy held by Kevin McClory and his estate. McClory worked with Bond creator Ian Fleming and writer Jack Whittingham on a script for Thunderball in the late 1950s. McClory would later claim he helped created a number of iconic elements of the Bond world and gave the character a more movie-friendly persona. No details of the agreement or a settlement have been released. However, I’ve learned that the agreement over the long-standing dispute was finalized between the parties in the last two weeks.
The hit movies are the gifts that keep on giving for MGM. In addition to the jump in revenues, the studio says that James Bond and the residents of Middle Earth helped to raise Q3 net income by $23M …
The Board of Directors of MGM Holdings Inc., authorized a share repurchase plan and adopted a Stockholder Rights Plan declaring a dividend distribution of one “Purchase Right” for each outstanding share of its Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock.
“Gary Barber and his team have done a great job building an attractive slate of new content in film and television, which is driving strong growth and profitability,” said Ann Mather, MGM’s Lead Director. “MGM’s healthy balance sheet and efficient operating structure position the Company for a wide array of options to maximize shareholder value. The MGM Board is considering all of these options carefully, and has approved the share repurchase plan in recognition of the Company’s strong performance to date and future prospects. Along with the share repurchase plan, the adoption of the Stockholder Rights Plan will allow the Board to act in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders without any distractions which could result from coercive and discriminatory takeover attempts.”
“As the Board considers MGM’s options for creating maximum value for our stockholders, the Board has authorized MGM to repurchase shares from stockholders,” said Gary Barber, MGM Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The initial authorization by the Board under the stock repurchase plan is $75 million, and the Board will continue to assess the size of the repurchase plan over time.”
EXCLUSIVE: I can’t say definitively that the negotiations are going to work out, but MGM is in talks with Wanted helmer Timur Bekmambetov to helm Ben-Hur, a new adaptation of the 1880 Lew Wallace novel Ben-Hur: A Tale Of The Christ, which in its time outsold every book but The Bible until it was eclipsed by Gone With The Wind. This all got set in motion after MGM bought a Ben-Hur spec by Keith Clarke (he scripted the Peter Weir-directed The Way Back), a package that came with Sean Daniel and Joni Levin attached to produce, and Clarke and Jason Brown exec producing. This happened last January, right after MGM got new funding and was flush with proceeds from the 007 pic Skyfall and The Hobbit. I have been chasing the possible deal with Bekmambetov for the past two weeks, and it seemed intriguing enough as another Biblical epic moving forward that I felt it was worth noting despite the fact they haven’t reached financial terms and I don’t know for certain that they will.