27th April 2022
The two co-chiefs of MGM quit during an industry event
By MI6 Staff
Just when things appeared to be on an even keel, today the co-chiefs of MGM, Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, announced their resignations from the studio.
A month after Amazon closed the deal to acquire MGM with assurances all round of 'business as usual,' De Luca and Abdy pulled the plug on their leadership roles during the middle of CinemaCon in Las Vegas, where studios tout their upcoming wares to theatre owners. It was at the previous CinemaCon event in August last year when De Luca and Abdy confirmed the 'No Time To Die' release date and previewed 9 minutes of the pre-title sequence.
This will be a huge blow to James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who were understood to have a great relationship with the duo. Trade press reports that Broccoli and Abdy in particular found their groove through the 'No Time To Die' release chaos and had formed a close working relationship; both stipulating that MGM supported cinematic releases for future Bond films.
Back in the summer, when uncertainty brewed about the future of MGM and the direction of the James Bond series after Daniel Craig departed, Broccoli and Wilson said: "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."
That support is now gone.
De Luca has not been shy about his intentions. Variety reports that he had hand-written a letter to Warner Bros. Discovery about how he could shape their film output.
What effects this will have on MGM's current and future slate remain to be seen, and speculation surrounds whether the company will decide to take some of those films away from theatrical and on to Amazon Prime. The future of United Artists Releasing (previously Anna Purna) is also in doubt. Who Amazon appoints to run the studio will be a major factor in the future of the James Bond series, as MGM has veto power over casting.
Statement to MGM employees from De Luca and Abdy:
A little over two years ago we came to MGM to help restore its vibrancy among the storied studios of the last century and we are proud to say, thanks to all of you and your efforts, it is mission accomplished. With our goal achieved, and as we look ahead, we feel now is the right time for us to move on and explore our next chapter and challenge. We will depart our roles this summer. We are confident that the exciting vision Prime Video and Amazon Studios has for MGM and the organization Mike Hopkins is building along with Jennifer Salke and team, will guarantee MGM’s continued success.
Beginning with our arrival in early 2020, we were given the opportunity to revitalize and quickly grow MGM’s film slate by creating a home for the world’s best storytellers to make films for global audiences. We could not have imagined that shortly after our arrival the world would be impacted by a pandemic that essentially shut down our industry, nor could we have foreseen the various immediate and longer term challenges the pandemic would put in our path.
With the support of every member of MGM’s production team, and with our filmmaking partners by our side, we were able to get back to making movies and ultimately put in motion a deep bench of films, from filmmakers including Ridley Scott, Paul Thomas Anderson, Joe Wright, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin, Ron Howard, George Miller, Billy Porter, Sarah Polley, Chinonye Chukwu, Cory Finley, Zach Braff, George Clooney, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Seligman, Luca Guadagnino, Zoe Kravitz, Rachel Morrison and many others, with the goal of creating a lineup of movies that would appeal to every kind of audience. Included among our slate are several films from Orion Pictures, which we relaunched under the leadership of Alana Mayo in August of 2020 amid the long overdue examination of America’s relationship with race, with the goal of making films exclusively focused on – and brought to us by – underrepresented voices.
It’s been our honor and privilege to preside over a revitalized studio that navigated, along with our partners at Eon, the right release date for Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond and seeing the film become one of the highest grossing films of 2021; while also seeing the studio earn eight Academy Award and seventeen BAFTA-nominations, with Licorice Pizza earning the studio’s first Best Picture Academy Award-nomination in over thirty years.
You, as well as our colleagues at UAR and Universal and all our filmmakers, have made all this possible and we are so grateful to have been part of such an incredible team. We are also grateful to Kevin Ulrich and everyone at Anchorage Capital, along with Chris Brearton, for bringing us in and wish everyone at Prime Video and Amazon Studios and MGM nothing but the best success going forward.
Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy