Can I Interest You in a Legendary Movie Studio? MGM Goes Up for Sale

     November 12, 2009

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MGM, the studio of The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Singin’ in the Rain and many other classic films, is expected to be headed to the auction block where its library and logo may go to the highest bidder.  The financially troubled company will manage to hold on to Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of The Hobbit, but it’s pretty much anything goes for the 85-year-old company.  Hit the jump for more about who would want to own a constantly growling lion.

wizard_of_oz_movie_poster_01.jpgAccording to Variety, several sources are reporting that they expect MGM to be auctioned off into oblivion in the next several weeks.  To give you an idea of what this means, one studio could buy MGM’s 4,000+ titles but another buyer could purchase the logo.  Now I’m no fancy-shmancy lawyer, but from what I think I can understand but probably don’t, one studio could own 4,000 MGM movies but without the MGM logo.  The one with the logo could slap it onto anything he or she owned and it would be seen as a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced commodity.

If I had to pick between the two, I would go with the logo because the possibilities are endless.  Everyone recognizes Leo the Lion and if there’s not a stipulation for the figure to only be attached to movies, then think of the non-film-related business who could use the character.  KY Jelly, need a sponsor?  Arby’s, why not a lion?  And if the buyer must use the logo only for film purposes, then whoever owns it can make a home movie, slap on the MGM logo, and never have to worry about copyright infringement when they put their movie of Darth Vader action-figure vs. Master Chief action-figure on YouTube.  I’m sure whoever buys the logo will have more lucrative purposes for it, but I say they should have some fun with it first.

As for other MGM films besides The Hobbit, the studio-whose only film this year was Fame-is set to release Hot Tub Time Machine (read Steve’s rave about the red-band promo trailer here), The Zookeeper starring Kevin James, and the remake of Red Dawn. It’s a shame the studio has gone down the tubes financially because I think 2010 would have been a very successful year for them.  However, Variety makes no mention of what will happen to the highly valuable James Bond franchise.  But I wouldn’t worry too much.  There are plenty of studios who need a secret agent with a license to kill.

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