Hot on the heels of clearing debt and securing a $500m revolving credit facility, the revitalised studio’s co-chairmen and CEOs Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum say they have effectively sealed their global distribution network with two fresh multi-year agreements.
Zon Lusomundo will release MGM films in Portugal while Gulf Film co-founder Selim Ramia will handle the Middle East. Both deals cover theatrical and home video rights to all MGM-originated product such as the new James Bond film Skyfall (pictured), set for release in the US though Sony on Nov 9, and include the two Hobbit films, the first of which is lined up for domestic release through Warner Bros in December.
The agreements do not cover summer release G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters scheduled at time of writing for January 2013, both of which were co-financed and co-developed with worldwide distributor Paramount. However MGM has retained international TV rights to the pair.
“We have pretty much rounded out our distribution network around the globe,” Barber told Screendaily. “The vision was to try to align ourselves with the dominant indigenous distributors who had vertical integration, so if we could get our films placed on the theatrical platform, we believe ancillary would [fall into place.]”
The development follows the recently announced partnerships with Svensk for Scandinavia and Forum for Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Israel and in some cases the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Territories not covered by the output deals will be handled in most cases by the domestic partner’s international pipeline. All MGM-originated product is subject to the first-look deal with Sony, who will release Skyfall and among others the Robocop remake and action-comedy 21 Jump Street set to open on Mar 16. Warner Bros is handling the bulk of worldwide distribution on The Hobbit films.
In cases where MGM co-finances and co-develops projects with another studio, that studio will get the opportunity to handle global distribution.
Fox International handles worldwide home entertainment for MGM and Barber and Birnbaum will cut pay-TV and digital distribution deals on a country-by-country basis.
MGM’s development slate includes Punk Farm, Carrie, Poltergiest and The Machine.