All change at the top as Amazon absorbs the studio.
For many the announcement in March that Amazon had finally closed the deal to buy MGM felt like closure. Parties to the deal had been waiting on the competition regulators in Europe and the US since May last year.
The buyout was confirmed after Europe specifically green-lit the deal, while in the United States the FTC’s window to act finally came to an end with no attempt to block the sale.
That was never going to be the end of the story though, as MGM’s operations still needed to be absorbed into the Internet giant. And, as always happens, big changes will happen. Not the end of the story then, more like a new chapter.
And so it was little surprise yesterday when Variety reported the resignations of two top executives at MGM. Michael de Luca and Pamela Abdy, chairman and president of the motion picture group will leave in the summer. Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson are thought to have had a good working relationship with them. The New York Times did a piece (paywall) on how they “resurrected” the studio. That piece quotes a statement issued on their behalf:
Mike and Pam understand that we are at a critical juncture and that the continuing success of the James Bond series is dependent on us getting the next iteration right and will give us the support we need to do this… Amazon has assured us that Bond will continue to debut [on the big screen]. Our hope is that they will empower Mike and Pam to continue to run MGM unencumbered.
In a memo to staff, de Luca and Abdy noted:
It’s been our honor and privilege to preside over a revitalized studio that navigated, along with our partners at Eon, the right release date for Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond and seeing the film become one of the highest grossing films of 2021.
Of course they will need to build working relationships with whoever they need to going forward. How well they work together may be a different matter though. Other unresolved issues noted by Variety include the future of United Artists Releasing, MGM’s partnership with Annapurna.
As always with these things, we’ll just have to wait and see how it all pans out.
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