Sometimes good news comes from unexpected places. It was announced today that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Annapurna Pictures (Annapurna) have formed a new joint venture for theatrical distribution in the U.S. But tacked onto that announcement was news of the release date for the highly anticipated Creed II, a follow-up to Ryan Coogler‘s smash hit sports drama starring Michael B. Jordan as the son of the late boxing champ, Apollo Creed.
Creed 2, a continuation of the Rocky saga, also starring Golden Globe-winner and Academy Award-nominee Sylvester Stallone, will be released in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures on November 21, 2018. Stallone is writing and will direct the sequel.
As for MGM, the move marks their return to U.S. theatrical distribution while Annapurna, who launched their marketing and distribution arm earlier this year, continues their expansion. Annapurna and MGM will share funding for the joint venture’s operations, though each studio will retain creative control over their individual projects. As part of the agreement, MGM and Annapurna have formed a releasing entity called Mirror, to pursue theatrical releasing opportunities for third party films supported by thoughtful approaches to marketing, publicity, and distribution, while allowing creators and investors to maintain individuality and their brands.
Through this joint venture, MGM expects to release a slate of approximately six to eight films per year beginning with:
- Eli Roth’s re-imagining of the classic 1974 revenge thriller Death Wish, starring Bruce Willis which will be released March 2, 2018
- The musical adaptation of the 1983 romantic comedy Valley Girl, directed by Rachel Goldenberg and starring Jessica Rothe, Josh Whitehouse and Mae Whitman, will be released on June 29, 2018
- Fighting with My Family, a comedy-drama written and directed by Stephen Merchant, based on the true personal story of WWE Superstar PaigeTM and her family of professional wrestlers, starring Florence Pugh, Vince Vaughn and Dwayne Johnson, will release in U.S. theaters on September 14, 2018.
- In 2018, MGM will also theatrically release Nasty Women, based on the original 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Rebel Wilson, Academy Award-winner Anne Hathaway and Tony Award-winner Alex Sharp.
- The thriller Operation Finale, directed by Chris Weitz and starring Golden Globe-winner Oscar Isaac and Academy Award-winner Ben Kingsley also opens next year.
- Worldwide distribution plans for the 25th installment of the long-running James Bond franchise, produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, will be announced at a later date.
Meanwhile, Annapurna expects to release a slate of approximately four to six films per year including:
- Richard Linklater’s film adaptation of Maria Semple’s dramedy best-selling novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette.
- Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, adapted from the beloved James Baldwin novel
- The Sisters Brothers, based on Patrick deWitt’s acclaimed novel of the same name and Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to his Palme d’Or winning Dheepan
- Adam McKay’s Untitled Dick Cheney Project, which details the career of Dick Cheney and his rise to becoming the most powerful vice president in history.
MGM’s 2018 film slate also has titles that will be released through its existing studio partners, including:
- The action-packed Tomb Raider, starring Academy Award-winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft with Warner Bros. Pictures on March 16, 2018
- The animated Sherlock Gnomes, voiced by Johnny Depp, James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, with Paramount Pictures on March 23, 2018
- Overboard, a comedy starring Mexican comedy star Eugenio Derbez and Anna Faris, with Pantelion Films on April 20, 2018
Orion Pictures, MGM’s recently relaunched stand-alone U.S. theatrical marketing and distribution company, will be releasing its first film under the new label, the young adult romance Every Day, based on David Levithan’s New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, starring Angourie Rice, Maria Bello and Debby Ryan on April 27, 2018.