Longtime MGM international publicity director Bill Edwards has died. Edwards passed away at his home in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday, Screendaily reports. He was 84. Born in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, England, Edwards began his film industry career in London in 1952 at the trade paper Kine Weekly. He joined MGM in 1961 as a unit publicist, later becoming the studio’s European publicity director for such films as The V.I.P.s, The Yellow Rolls Royce and The Dirty Dozen. He also collaborated on several films with Sophia Loren including Operation Crossbow, Lady L and The Countess From Hong Kong. Edwards spent three years at MGM Studios in Culver City before moving to London in 1973 as MGM international publicity director. He left the studio in the mid-1980s. Edwards was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served as co-chairman of its London Screening Committee from 1989 until 1997.
‘Fruitvale Station’ Duo Ryan Coogler And Michael B. Jordan Team With Sly Stallone On MGM ‘Rocky’ Spinoff ‘Creed’
EXCLUSIVE: MGM is setting Ryan Coogler to direct Creed, and the studio is in early talks with Coogler’s Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed in a continuation of the Rocky saga that Coogler is going to write with Aaron Covington. Sylvester Stallone will reprise Rocky Balboa as a retired fighter-turned-trainer. This comes in the wake of a strong summer platform opening for Fruitvale Station, the film that won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Awards at Sundance, and captured Prize Of The Future at the Cannes Film Festival, where Coogler and Jordan were the toast of the Croisette. Coogler intends for this to be his directorial follow-up to Fruitvale Station so the intention is to make it happen quickly.
Now, I know the knee-jerk reaction is to say it’s hard to get excited about what amounts to the seventh film in the Rocky series. This feels different to me, mostly because of how it came together. Much the same way that Coogler burned with the desire to tell the tragic story of Oscar Grant in his feature debut and begged Jordan to play the role in the $900,000 budget film, this whole idea also came from Coogler. When he signed with WME, Coogler identified Creed as a dream project. While Coogler already had the relationship with Jordan, the agency put him together with Stallone. Stallone, who is right now heavily involved in a stage musical transfer of his original Oscar-winning 1976 film Rocky, loved the idea and felt it was strong enough for him to bring back his signature screen character. Stallone and Coogler then approached MGM’s Gary Barber and Jon Glickman, and they flipped for it. The film will be produced by Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff, who produced the original, along with Stallone and Kevin King.
The intention is for Jordan to play the grandson of Apollo Creed (played in the early movies by Carl Weathers). Raised in an upper-crust home thanks to the ring riches earned by his grandfather, the young man doesn’t have to box and his family doesn’t want him to. Yet, he has the natural instinct and gifts and potential that made his grandfather the heavyweight champion until Rocky Balboa took his crown in 1979′s Rocky II. Creed’s grandson needs a mentor and turns to Balboa, who is out of boxing completely and not eager to return.
MGM announced today it had tapped veteran TV exec Greg Robertson to head MGM International Television’s Asia Pacific office. In his newly created role, Senior VP Asia Pacific International TV, he will be based in Australia. Caroline Edwards will continue in her role as Vice President of Asia Pacific, MGM International Television Division, working directly with Robertson.
LOS ANGELES, CA (June 20, 2013) – Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), a division of MGM Holdings Inc., has partnered with Fox 2000 Pictures, a division of Twentieth Century Fox, to co-finance and distribute the film “Poltergeist,” it was announced today by MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gary Barber and Twentieth Century Fox Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Gianopulos. Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) is set to direct from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, David Lindsay-Abaire (whose recent credits include “Oz: The Great and Powerful”). The film is being produced by Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead”) and Rob Tapert (“The Posession”) via Ghost House Pictures, along with Roy Lee (“The Strangers”). Nathan Kahane (“The Grudge”) will serve as executive producer.
“Poltergeist” will be marketed and distributed worldwide by Twentieth Century Fox, with select international territories as well as international television distribution being handled by MGM. Fox will also handle home entertainment and domestic television. MGM and Twentieth Century Fox continue their longtime partnership as Fox also distributes MGM’s home entertainment product.
UPDATED: Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s TV/digital/film production company has set up shop at MGM for television and film. BermanBraun, which just came out of a five-year stint at NBCUniversal, has signed an exclusive multiyear production deal with MGM Television to create and develop scripted and unscripted programming for broadcast and cable. The agreement, the first such production pact for MGM Television, which has been in a rapid expansion mode, came together pretty quickly only two weeks after BermanBraun’s most recent deal at NBCU expired. “It was a real meeting of minds,“ said Roma Khanna, President, Television Group & Digital, MGM Television.”The idea of this deal is to say that our appetite is large for quality productions, that we want to work with the best talent and are smart about the TV projects we put together.”
Berman and Braun took several meetings but ultimately opted to go with upstart MGM vs. a traditional TV studio because of their plan to aggressively build their TV operation. “We’re exited to be part of their expansion, it gives us an unique opportunity to spread our wings,” Berman said.
BermanBraun and MGM TV both have experimented with not-traditional production models, something BermanBraun is employing in their summer NBC series Camp, which was done as a straight-to-series, lower license fee show. MGM TV is behind History’s Vikings, which went straight to series and is made as an international co-production, as well as FX’s straight-to-series limited series Fargo. Khanna noted that MGM “got lucky” to land the two straight-to-series orders but is staying “flexible”, pursuing both non-traditional and traditional pilot development and willing to deficit finance/co-finance its projects. MGM’s focus remain on cable dramas, though Khanna hopes to expand into unscripted series via BermanBraun’s expertise in the arena. Meanwhile, BermanBraun had serviced NBCU’s cable networks, including producing Syfy’s Alphas, though its primary focus for the past five years has been on broadcast, supplying NBC. The deal with MGM “really allows to get (the cable drama) part of our business jump-started, so our interests aligned beautifully in that,” Berman said,. In addition to Khanna, BermanBraun will work with Steve Stark, President, TV Production, MGM Television. On the BermanBraun side, Gene Stein, President of Television, will be leading their team in the new venture.
MGM has also signed BermanBraun to a first-look deal on all theatrical projects they are developing and will work directly with Jonathan Glickman, President, Motion Picture Group, MGM. The theatrical executive from BermanBraun is Andrew Mittman, Head of Feature Film Development.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount and MGM are making a deal with Jon M. Chu to direct another installment of G.I. Joe. It was Chu who essentially guided a do-over from 2009′s G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, and it wasn’t the easiest process. The film was refashioned with Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis as its core leads. Even then, Paramount pulled the film from its 2012 release calendar (to make it 3D and do some creative enhancements) and did the same with World War Z (to shoot a whole new third act). It looks like the studio’s gamble will pay off in both cases. G.I. Joe: Retaliation came out in March to gross $365 million globally, and WWZ is beginning to generate positive buzz after being prematurely written off because of its production issues, now that people are seeing it’s a good movie.
The numbers do the roaring for MGM. In the first three months of this year it generated net income of $57.4M, +150.7% vs the period last year, on revenues of $481.7M, +168.4%. It shouldn’t be a surprise. With the late 2012 release of the James Bond film Skyfall, and a 50% stake in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the studio had $139.5M in worldwide box office revenues, up from $0.5M last year. The company says that it has to wait for costs to be covered before it can recognize revenue from two films it co-financed: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Home entertainment also was way up — to $201.7M from $36.2M — with the home video release of Skyfall and piggy-back promotions for its James Bond library. But worldwide television licensing was -3.2% to $109.3M. MGM’s 19.1% stake in EPIX delivered $5M to net earnings, +16.3%. The results “exceeded our expectations” and “position us well to deliver on our financial goals” for 2013, CEO Gary Barber told investors.
It’s a tough road to fully wipe clear the iconic images of Brian De Palma’s 1976 original, based on the Stephen King book about a loner high school girl whose crazy mom and the mean kids at school eventually get the brunt of her blossoming telekinetic powers. But this first …
EXCLUSIVE: The Californication and Zero Hour actress is set to star in MGM‘s horror remake, which puts a modern meta twist on the original. Pic takes place in Texarkana, site of the 1946 “Moonlight Murders” that …
The Dwayne Johnson-starrer Hercules already set Rufus Sewell to co-star as Autolycus. Now Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes, Rebecca Ferguson (BBC’s The White Queen), Aksel Hennie (Headhunters) and John Hurt have come aboard, Paramount and MGM said today. Ryan Condal wrote the screenplay for the action film, based on Radical Studio’s graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, Evan Spiliotopoulos rewrote it and Brett Ratner is directing and producing with Barry Levine and Beau Flynn. Production is set to begin in May and the movie will be released July 25, 2014.
The plot: After renouncing his mythological origins, Hercules lives in exile and fights as a mercenary for hire alongside his loyal but weary comrades. Hercules and his crew will face their most challenging labor yet when one battle forces the man behind the myth to question everything he once believed, and reconsider the truth behind his own legend.