The embattled studio has finally cleared its way through its on-going financial problems on Monday when its bankruptcy debt restructuring became effective, emerging from the process with some $500 financing million in place to restart operations.
So what will be the first steps for the studio? Undoubtedly, they will take a look at the two projects that have long been sitting on shelves throughout the whole bankruptcy process – the Joss Whedon-produced Cabin In The Woods and the remake Red Dawn. Both were reportedly finished, or very close to it, when they were sidelined, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get them prepped, marketed and in theaters in the next several months.
For some surefire profits, it is a no-brainer that MGM will also fire up their two big projects that have also been sitting in limbo, the next James Bond film and Peter Jackson’s two-film adaptation The Hobbit. Of the two, The Hobbit is the one in active pre-production already, with casting on-going and shooting scheduled to commence in the spring.Presumably. MGM will be splitting production costs with co-producer/distributor New Line Cinema/Warner Brothers.
The next Bond film is a slightly trickier prospect. At the time pre-production was put on hiatus back in April, it had a script from writer Peter Morgan and had Sam Mendes set to direct. But will franchise producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson want to go forward with Morgan’s script or start from scratch? How close is Mendes to launching any of the other projects he has in development and would he want to place them on hold for another year or two while he devotes his time to Bond? Whatever the outcome, Broccol and Wilson will probably be gearing up fairly quickly as MGM’s restructuring plan called for a new Bond film in theaters for November 2012.
Beyond this, though, things get a little murky. Will MGM try to rebuild their studio and brand through big gambles on blockbusters or safer bets with a number of smaller, less financially risky, films? With Bond and The Hobbit, MGM certainly has a couple of blockbusters in its back pocket, but with both of those not potentially hitting theaters until late 2012, it is going to need some other product besides Cabin and Red Dawn in the meantime.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the studio went looking into its vaults for material to remake, as that always seems to be the safer bet in the eyes of the bean counters who run things. Perhaps they’ll restart development on their RoboCop reboot which was shut down at the beginning of their financial problems. If they do, I suspect it will be without the participation of director Darren Arronofski, who was working on it before but now has his hands full with The Wolverine for Twentieth Century Fox. Stargate has been one of the studio’s stronger franchise, though in television and not film. Even though SyFy has just cancelled the third television spinoff, Stargate: Universe, don’t be surprised if there is more Stargate in some form announced in the near future.