The Hobbit and Bond for sale?
The stories have been going mad about The Hobbit films and the James Bond franchise in trouble as stories reveal that MGM has serious money problems behind the scenes.
However, as I know only too well on the bank side of this story, when a business is doing poorly and the media pounce on story, making big the issue of monetary concerns, the issue becomes even bigger as potential investors and saviours are scared off by even more negative stories and spins on the same story. Some of which aren't always as bleak.
The bank Northern Rock was a prime example. As the media leapt on the story and told the world that their money was all going to be lost as the bank burned down in a fire of brimstone, or some equally over-hyped story, queues formed, customers withdrew all their money, and the bank collapsed.
Actually I've just deleted a whole couple of paragraphs talking about what happened to that bank, and it really doesn't belong here. Suffice to say that the media created a much bigger crisis and had a huge part to play in the downfall of that company and the loss of many jobs.
This could be true of the story behind MGM, although I'm not so close to the issue to really know. You'll notice though that the media here aren't so interested in the whole tale, since it's not the financial industry, why would they? They're not after news, they're after viewing figures.
At the moment it would seem, according to Deadline Hollywood Daily, MGM have had extended calls with bondholders discussing loss of revenue, harder times, and a request to creditors to hold off on interest payments until February 2010, allowing MGM to put that money into their major projects to bring back the rewards to then pay them.
However, according to the sources and insider information that we're not privy to, the article tells us that there are three options. The creditors could allow this and the company would continue with it's major productions, the bondholders could sell their shares and gain half of what they are worth, or they could force the company into bankruptcy and lose much more.
That's oversimplifying it, and if you really do want the more informed business article then head over to Deadline Hollywood Daily, however do bear in mind the use of the words insider and source.
For me it's pretty obvious, anything that stops MGM from working on their two major projects will mean a huge loss for them, that's the James Bond franchise and The Hobbit films. Both of these are guaranteed huge earners, and if MGM aren't making them then someone else will swoop in, buy them up, and make them.
As audience members we have no fears about these projects getting made, they might be delayed, but they will be made. Any company would be crazy not to see the potential for box office returns from these two, and the Bond franchise is a real money earner done right or wrong.
There are other projects in there too that would be of interest to other studios. The RoboCop reboot, the Stargate franchise, the Red Dawn remake, The Three Stooges, Bright Lights, Big City remake, the possibility of Pinkville and a Poltergeist sequel/remake, etc.
However these aren't enough to save it if it really is in this much trouble, and it needs The Hobbit and James Bond to bail it out.
Will they be enough or will these two end up at another company? Either way we can be assured that the films won't change that much, there are huge creative constraints and drivers behind both projects that ensure that, and they'll move with the names without a doubt.