The storied movie studio MGM is getting back into distribution, teaming with Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures in a joint venture that could have ramifications for the next James Bond film.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna on Tuesday announced a partnership to distribute films in the United States. The move signals growing ambitions for MGM, which was once one of Hollywood's premier brands. After financial struggles, the Beverly Hills, California-based studio, founded in 1924, emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2000 and has since released its films through larger studios.
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"The time has come for MGM to regain control of its own destiny and return to U.S. theatrical distribution," Gary Barber, MGM chief executive and chairman, said in a statement.
MGM remains the home of James Bond, but neither MGM nor Annapurna said if the next Bond movie, planned for 2019, is a part of their new deal. MGM's pact with Sony Pictures on the franchise expired in 2015. Worldwide distribution rights for the 25th Bond film, MGM said, would be announced "at a later date."
MGM and Annapurna said they will together release about 15 films a year, including six to eight by MGM. Each company retains creative control over their individual projects. Annapurna, which has recently begun marketing and distributing its own titles, will handle campaigns for all MGM titles.
"We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Gary and the entire MGM team," said Ellison. "MGM's distinguished legacy and library of films has made them a pillar in the industry and I couldn't be more proud and confident in our team's ability to collaborate on the distribution of their upcoming slate."
The first movie MGM will release under the agreement will be Eli Roth's "Death Wish," a remake of the 1974 revenge thriller, in March. Also on the docket are a musical of 1983's "Valley Girl," the Rocky saga sequel "Creed 2," and a female-led remake of 1988's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" titled "Nasty Women."
Since its founding in 2012, Annapurna has become an Academy Awards regular thanks to films like "American Hustle," ''Zero Dark Thirty" and "Her." Its recent forays into distribution, however, have been less successful. None of its three releases this year — Kathryn Bigelow's "Detroit," Angela Robinson's "Professor Marston & the Wonder Woman" and Mike White's "Brad's Status" — have performed well at the box office.