‘Intrigue’ at Amazon, MGM over NYT article, newsletter says

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A New York Times story on July 6 has created “intrigue” at Amazon and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, according to a newsletter by a former editor at The Hollywood Reporter.

The article about MGM film chiefs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy generated some “serious eye-rolling at Amazon Studios this week,” wrote Matthew Belloni.

De Luca runs MGM’s film division and Abdy is his deputy. An excerpt from the newsletter:

I’m told Amazon’s famously press-averse executives were “concerned” about the story, mostly because De Luca and Abdy focused on MGM’s theatrical release plans and their strategy of “original ideas and original authorship,” possibly leaving the impression that there will be internal conflict with what Jeff Bezos cited as the primary reason for buying MGM: To “reimagine and redevelop” the studio’s existing I.P. The story also suggested the town might be rooting for De Luca to wrest control of Amazon’s film output from Jen Salke, the current head of Amazon Studios. 

Amazon last month agreed to acquire MGM for $8.45 billion. But the deal is subject to regulatory approval, a process that may take months.

Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, in a statement to the Times made clear they’re rooting for De Luca and Abdy.

Referring to Amazon, they said in the statement: “Our hope is that they will empower Mike and Pam to continue to run MGM unencumbered,” MGM is James Bond’s home studio. Eon controls creative matters with Bond while MGM finances the films.

Belloni’s newsletter said the Times story didn’t go over well with Amazon.

“Amazon and the tech companies that run Hollywood these days absolutely hate this posturing crap,” Belloni wrote. MGM and De Luca declined to comment to the newsletter.

No Time to Die, Eon’s 25th James Bond film, is scheduled to be released Sept. 30 in the U.K. and Oct. 8 in the U.S. The Amazon acquisition isn’t likely to be completed before then.

Eon endorses 2 current MGM execs amid Amazon deal

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Eon Productions has endorsed the efforts of two current Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film executives in the wake of Amazon’s pending $8.45 billion acquisition of James Bond’s home studio.

Eon’s Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson issued a statement for a story today in The New York Times. They spoke up in support of Michael De Luca, chairman of MGM’s Motion PIcture Group, and his deputy, Pamela Abdy.

“Mike and Pam understand that we are at a critical juncture and that the continuing success of the James Bond series is dependent on us getting the next iteration right and will give us the support we need to do this,” Broccoli and Wilson said in the statement to the Times.

The tenure of Daniel Craig, the current cinema Bond, is coming to an end with the upcoming No Time to Die.

“Amazon has assured us that Bond” films will come out first in movie theaters, Broccoli and Wilson added. “Our hope is that they will empower Mike and Pam to continue to run MGM unencumbered.” 

De Luca has been in his post since early 2020.

The Times story primarily concerns efforts by De Luca and Abdy to reinvigorate MGM’s film efforts. The studio emerged from bankruptcy in 2010. Since then, it has attempted to build up its film slate under the MGM and Orion brands.

Amazon has a major streaming service. Purchasing MGM secures Amazon a large film library and programming source.

The Times also details how Amazon also has purchased films from studios “looking to offload their movies because theaters were largely closed” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major executive changes often take place following an acquisition. “

“There are some in Hollywood’s film community who are hopeful that Mr. De Luca and Ms. Abdy will oversee Amazon’s movie business once the merger is complete,” the Times said.

Amazon’s purchase of MGM is subject to regulatory approval.

No Time to Die, Eon’s 25th Bond film, is scheduled to be released Sept. 30 in the U.K. and Oct. 8 in the U.S. It’s uncertain whether Amazon’s deal with MGM will be completed before then.