90 Facts About MGM


MGM owned film studios, movie lots, movie theaters and technical production facilities.

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MGM hired new management, reducing the studio's output to about five films per year; and diversified its products, creating MGM Resorts International and a Las Vegas-based hotel and casino company .

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In 2010, MGM filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reorganization.

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MGM was the last studio to convert to sound pictures, but in spite of this fact, from the end of the silent film era through the late 1950s, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the dominant motion picture studio in Hollywood.

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Three years later, an increasingly unprofitable MGM was bought by Kirk Kerkorian, who slashed staff and production costs, forced the studio to produce low-quality, low-budget fare, and then ceased theatrical distribution in 1973.

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MGM ramped up internal production, as well as keeping production going at UA, which included the lucrative James Bond film franchise.

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MGM was bought by Pathe Communications in 1990, but Parretti lost control of Pathe and defaulted on the loans used to purchase the studio.

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MGM produced more than 100 feature films in its first two years.

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In 1925, MGM released the extravagant and successful Ben-Hur, taking a $4.

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MGM was one of the first studios to experiment with filming in Technicolor.

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MGM released The Viking, the first complete Technicolor feature with a synchronized score and sound effects, but no spoken dialogue.

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MGM included a sequence made in Technicolor's superior new three-color process, a musical number in the otherwise black-and-white The Cat and the Fiddle, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Ramon Novarro.

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The studio's distribution deal with Roach lasted from 1927 to 1938, and MGM benefited in particular from the success of the popular Laurel and Hardy films.

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In 1938, MGM purchased the rights to the Our Gang series and moved production to MGM studios, continuing production of the successful series of children's comedies until 1944.

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From 1929 to 1931, MGM produced a series of comedy shorts called All Barkie Dogville Comedies, in which trained dogs were dressed up to parody contemporary films and were voiced by actors.

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MGM entered the music industry by purchasing the "Big Three" starting with Miller Music Publishing Co.

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In 1935, MGM acquired a controlling interest in the capital stock of Leo Feist, Inc, the last of the "Big Three".

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MGM produced approximately 50 pictures a year, though it never met its goal of releasing a new motion picture each and every week .

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Still, as the Great Depression deepened, MGM began to economize by "recycling" existing sets, costumes, and furnishings from yesteryear projects.

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Until the mid-1950s, MGM could make a claim its rivals could not: the studio never lost money, although it did produce an occasional disaster such as Parnell, Clark Gable's biggest flop.

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MGM was the only Hollywood studio that continued to pay dividends during the 1930s.

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MGM stars dominated the box office during the 1930s, and the studio was credited for inventing the Hollywood stable of stars system, as well.

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MGM contracted with the American Musical Academy of Arts Association to handle all of their press and artist development.

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MGM'sarer was still a money maker despite her screen appearances becoming scarce, and Crawford continued her box-office popularity until 1937.

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MGM received a boost through the man who would become known as "King of Hollywood", Clark Gable.

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Rumors had begun circulating for some time that Thalberg was leaving MGM to set up his own independent company; his premature death at age 37 in September 1936 cost MGM dearly.

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MGM produced some well-regarded and profitable musicals that would later be acknowledged as classics, among them An American in Paris, Singin' in the Rain, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers .

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Schary's reign at MGM had been marked with few legitimate hits, but his departure left a power vacuum that would prove difficult to fill.

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In 1958, MGM released what is generally considered its last great musical, Arthur Freed's Cinemascope color production of Gigi, starring Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, and Louis Jourdan.

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However, MGM did release later musical films, including an adaptation of Meredith Willson's The Unsinkable Molly Brown with Debbie Reynolds and Harve Presnell.

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MGM took bids for its movie library in 1956 from Lou Chesler and others, but decided on entering the TV market itself.

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MGM Television was started with the hiring of Bud Barry to head up the operation in June 1956.

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MGM Television was to distribute its films to TV, TV production and purchasing TV stations.

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In 1956, MGM sold the television rights for The Wizard of Oz to CBS, which scheduled it to be shown in November of that year.

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The studio was all too happy to see Oz become, through television, one of the two or three most famous films MGM has ever made, and one of the few films that nearly everybody in the U S has seen at least once.

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In 1933, Ub Iwerks canceled the unsuccessful Flip the Frog series and MGM began to distribute its second series of cartoons, starring a character named Willie Whopper, that was produced by Ub Iwerks.

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Harman and Ising came to MGM after breaking ties with Leon Schlesinger and Warner Bros.

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The Happy Harmonies regularly ran over budget, and MGM dismissed Harman-Ising in 1937 to start its own animation studio.

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In 1961, MGM resumed the release of new Tom and Jerry shorts, and production moved to Rembrandt Films in Prague, Czechoslovakia under the supervision of Gene Deitch, who had been hired away from UPA.

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In 1959, MGM enjoyed what is quite probably its greatest financial success of later years, with the release of its nearly four-hour Technicolor epic Ben–Hur, a remake of its 1925 silent film hit, loosely based on the novel by General Lew Wallace.

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MGM released David Lean's immensely popular Doctor Zhivago, later followed by such hits as The Dirty Dozen and 2001: A Space Odyssey .

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However the company's time was taken up fighting off proxy attacks by corporate raiders, and then MGM backed another series of box office failures, including the musical remake of Goodbye, Mr Chips and Ryan's Daughter .

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In 1971, it was announced that MGM was in talks with 20th Century-Fox about a possible merger, a plan which never came into fruition.

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Under Aubrey, MGM sold off MGM Records and its overseas theater holdings.

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Under Melnick's regime, MGM released a number of successful films in the 1970s, including Westworld, Soylent Green, The Sunshine Boys, and Network, which the studio co-produced with United Artists.

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MGM hit a symbolic low point in 1980 when David Begelman, earlier let go by Columbia following the discovery of his acts of forgery and embezzlement, was installed as MGM's president and CEO.

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MGM proceeded to return to theatrical distribution in 1981 with its purchase of United Artists, as UA's parent company Transamerica Corporation decided to jettison the studio following the huge financial debacle of Heaven's Gate .

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Turner immediately sold MGM's United Artists subsidiary back to Kerkorian for roughly $480 million.

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How much of MGM's back catalog Turner actually obtained was a point of conflict for a time; eventually, it was determined that Turner owned all of the pre-May 1986 MGM library, as well as the pre-1950 Warner Bros.

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MGM then merged it with his Pathe Communications Corporation to form MGM–Pathe Communications Co.

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However, a year later, Parretti's ownership of MGM–Pathe dissolved in a flurry of lawsuits and a default by Credit Lyonnais, and Parretti faced securities-fraud charges in the United States and Europe.

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MGM started distributing Carolco's films in January 1994 after its deal with TriStar Pictures ended.

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In May 1995, MGM agreed to distribute four of Rysher Entertainment's films in 1996 and 1997 and co-produce and co-finance two or three in that same period.

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Since 1981, MGM had distributed its films internationally through United International Pictures, a joint venture of MGM, Universal Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures.

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UIP was accused by the European Union of being an illegal cartel, and effective November 2000 MGM severed its ties with UIP and distributed films internationally through 20th Century Fox.

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MGM attempted to take over Universal Studios in 2003, but failed, and was forced to sell several of its cable channel investments .

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In January 2002, MGM formed the MGM Entertainment Business Group with lawyer Darcie Denkert as president.

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In 2004, many of MGM's competitors started to make bids to purchase the studio, beginning with Time Warner.

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In 2006, MGM announced it would return as a theatrical distribution company.

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MGM struck deals with The Weinstein Company, Lakeshore Entertainment, Bauer Martinez, and many other independent studios, and then announced its plans to release 14 feature films for 2006 and early 2007.

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MGM announced plans to restructure its worldwide television distribution operation.

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MGM served as New Line's barter sales representative in the television arena until 2008.

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Also in 2006, MGM licensed its home video distribution rights for countries outside of the United States to 20th Century Fox.

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Whether MGM could avoid voluntary or involuntary bankruptcy had been a topic of much discussion in the film industry.

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MGM had to repay a $250-million line of credit in April 2010, a $1-billion loan in June 2011, and its remaining US$2.

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In May 2009, MGM's auditor gave the company a clean bill of health, concluding it was still on track to meet its debt obligations.

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Industry observers questioned whether MGM could avoid a Chapter-11 bankruptcy filing under any circumstances, and concluded that any failure to conclude the negotiations must trigger a filing.

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MGM stated in February 2010 that the studio would likely be sold in the next four months, and that its latest film, Hot Tub Time Machine, might be one of the last four films to bear the MGM name.

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In separate 2011 deals, the rights to MGM's completed films Red Dawn and The Cabin in the Woods were dealt to FilmDistrict as well as Lionsgate Films, respectively.

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MGM will remain with the studio to produce films on "an exclusive basis".

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In May 2014, MGM introduced The Works, a channel available in 31 percent of the country, including stations owned by Titan Broadcast Management.

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In March 2017, MGM announced a multi-year distribution deal with Annapurna Pictures for some international markets and including home entertainment, theatrical and television rights.

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In October 2017, MGM's board renewed Gary Barber's contract as chairman and CEO until December 2022.

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MGM agreed to a $100 million co-financing slate deal with Bron Creative in June 2019.

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MGM was the first studio to delay the film No Time to Die due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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In May 2020, MGM made an investment, facilitated by its television group, in Audio Up podcast production studio, platform and network.

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Audio Up would produce 5 podcasts per year for MGM and agreed to an exclusive first look for its works.

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Later that month, MGM agreed to a two-year film and television first-look development deal with Killer Films.

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MGM indicated that month that the license tracking system was fixed.

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In December 2020, MGM began to explore a potential sale of the studio, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the domination of streaming platforms due to the closure of movie theaters as contributing factors.

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MGM hired Morgan Stanley and LionTree Advisors to handle the process on behalf of the studio.

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The negotiations were made directly with MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich whose Anchorage Capital Group is a major shareholder.

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MGM planned to house a private theater and a private outdoor patio in the building.

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In 2000, MGM announced that it was moving its headquarters to a new building in Century City that was to be the first high-rise in Los Angeles to be completed in the 21st century.

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The street leading to the building's garage was renamed MGM Drive and a large MGM logo, illuminated at night, crowned the top of the building.

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For several years after the sale, MGM continued to distribute home video releases of those films under license from Turner, though in 1990 it sold all of its home video distribution rights to Warner Bros.

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From 1924 to 1973 and 1981 to 2010, MGM has theatrically distributed most of its movies entirely in-house, as well as those of United Artists after July 1981 and Orion Pictures after April 1997.

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In October 2017, seven years after shutting down their major distribution operations, MGM re-entered US theatrical distribution by launching an American joint venture with Annapurna Pictures that will share distribution financing between the two companies and release certain MGM and Annapurna films, beginning with the 2018 remake of Death Wish.

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From 2006 to September 2008, MGM distributed films produced or acquired by The Weinstein Company .

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That same year, in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, MGM arranged to get its films distributed through AB Svensk Filmindustri, which was renamed to SF Studios in 2016.

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