There was a time, long ago in the previous decade (read: like, three or four years ago) when a great deal of time and ink was spent cataloging the downfall of MGM. Riddled with debt all across town, the company nearly went down in flames, filing for bankruptcy and desperately fielded takeover offers. The one constant was their utter refusal to sell of their two major assets: James Bond and The Hobbit. The company’s stubborn clinging to the only buoys they possessed meant that both franchises were stalled far longer than they otherwise would have been, but time has shown the move to be a wise one. They moved out of outright bankruptcy in 2010 with the help of half-a-billion in new loans from a number of sources which, cut to 2012, saw the two big franchises on screens again.
Warner Brothers ended up pretty much producing The Hobbit all by its lonesome, while Sony co-produced Skyfall with MGM. Due to some SEC filings, it’s been assumed that MGM would go for an IPO (initial public offering of stock to raise money) to boost capital, settle debt, and otherwise start moving forward as a real studio again. That has not yet happened, quite possibly because of Skyfall’s profound success and The Hobbit doing what LOTR movies do. With two healthy franchises, it seems the company has been able to refinance its existing debt, but some people out, and stay private (for the time being). Leo the lion can rest easy- no Hollywood thugs will be breaking his legs.
In any event, all this really means that MGM will continue to be a confident player behind its two franchises, and we should start seeing other productions from them sooner rather than later. The health and finances of a Hollywood studio don’t really cut an interesting phoenix story, but it’s good to see a truly classic studio weather the tough times and get healthy(ish) again. That’s about as deep as my insight can get on something like this, but you can read the original Reuters piece here.