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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ( MGM ) is an American film production and film distribution company that was founded in 1924 by Marcus Loew and Louis B. Mayer and had its artistic and economic heyday until the late 1940s.



The company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was born in 1924 as a merger of film production companies Metro Pictures Corporation , Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures in Los Angeles . The Metro Pictures contributed to the merger mainly stars and directors, the Goldwyn Pictures the lion logo and its major studio equipment and Mayer Pictures her business-minded top managers, Louis B. Mayer . The MGM, which settled in Culver City , was a subsidiary of the cinema chain Loew's, Inc., which had existed since 1904. The official founding date of the MGM was May 17, 1924; Louis B. Mayer inaugurated his studio on April 26, 1924. Mayer himself did not get along with Nicholas Schenck , the boss of the New York parent company Loew's, Inc., and the dispute escalated in 1928 when Schenck tried to sell the MGM to William Fox past Mayer .

The establishment of MGM in 1924 was one of the events that marked the beginning of the classic studio system . For the first time, the previous market leader, Paramount , experienced permanent competition from MGM after First National's attempts had failed due to the lack of stars. In addition to the long-standing Universal company , numerous mergers resulted in Warner Bros. , from 1928 reinforced by First National , and Fox (which, however, went bankrupt in 1933 and merged with 20th Century Pictures to form 20th Century Fox at the end of 1934 ). RKO only merged into the final structure at the beginning of the sound film era and United Artists always played a special role, as this company saw itself as a distribution center for independent producers.

The MGM under Louis B. Mayer (1924–1951)

The symbolic animal of MGM:
"Leo the Lion"
here as a sculpture in front of the MGM Grand Casino Hotel in Las Vegas


Louis B. Mayer was the head of the MGM . The production manager was the only 24-year-old Irving Thalberg , whose special talent consisted in making good decisions when selecting scripts, cast and rotating staff. The collaboration between Mayer and Thalberg initially proved to be very effective, and under their management MGM quickly became one of the most successful companies in the industry. Thalberg supervised the film production and always commissioned a supervisor such as Albert Lewin, Bernard Hyman, Lawrence Weingarten or Hunt Stromberg with the execution. These supervisors watched the script, oversaw the budget, and coordinated the shooting.

After the introduction of the sound film, however, tensions gradually developed between Mayer and Thalberg. Mayer, who was supported by a group of loyal assistants like Eddie Mannix and Benny Thau , tried to prove that he could actually run the studio without Thalberg. Thalberg prepared to found his own production company and concluded personal contracts with many of the MGM stars he wanted to take over. The plan failed, however, because Thalberg fell seriously ill in 1932. In 1933 Mayer downgraded him from head of production to "producer" in his absence; Thalberg died in 1936. Mayer did not install a successor until 16 years later: the author and producer Dore Schary became the new head of production in 1948 .

The typical MGM look

The MGM studio, which practically from 1926 to 1943 regularly brought in the highest profits of all studios, was known for a consistently high standard of craftsmanship of the films and for the recognition value of their productions. The art directors led by Cedric Gibbons and costume designers , who, led by Gilbert Adrian, employed such talented people as Dolly Tree and later Irene, ensured the visual recognition value . Particularly significant for the typical MGM production were the cameramen and lighting technicians, who had strict instructions to illuminate every scene as brightly as possible. Shadows and hard contrasts were mostly undesirable. For this reason , the ideal cameraman was William H. Daniels , who knew like no other how to make the stars look good.

The make-up department, the hairstylists under the direction of Sydney Guilaroff and the tone department under Douglas Shearer , who set standards for the entire industry for decades , also had top standards.


In addition to the studio facilities in Culver City, the material and human “assets” of MGM included excellent technical staff and an exquisite selection of stars . When the studio was founded, it could count on names like Mae Murray , Lillian Gish , John Gilbert , Ramón Novarro , Alice Terry , Viola Dana and William Haines . MGM had at the beginning of 1930 so many well-known actors under contract that the studio with the slogan: "More Stars than there are in Heaven" (to German: more stars than the sky ) canvassed. After subtle critics pointed out that reference could be made to those who had already died, the slogan was dropped again. In the competition that the MGM waged against the other major Hollywood studios - and later against television - it retained an important trump card with its many stars.

Since the early 1930s, she has also used this lead to use star casts , i.e. for the production of films in which all the leading roles were occupied by well-known stars. The first film of this kind was People in the Hotel from 1932, in which, in addition to Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, several other top stars took part. MGM defied the economic crisis mainly thanks to its large star line-up. With Marie Dressler , Helen Hayes , Norma Shearer , Greta Garbo, Marion Davies , Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow , Ramón Novarro, John Gilbert and the three Barrymore siblings Ethel , John and Lionel , some of the biggest box office magnets were under contract. With the rise of Clark Gable , the studio, which was always referred to as the matriarchy because of the disproportionately high proportion of female stars , got a much-needed new male lover after John Gilbert's career had been dwindling since the sound film.

In the studio, Irving Thalberg, even more than Mayer, was the discoverer of new talents and the revitalization of ex-stars. He was responsible for the rise of his wife Norma Shearer, looked after Marie Dressler and helped Myrna Loy to her career. But Thalberg also made mistakes and his discovery Eva von Berne , announced with a lot of fanfare, left the studio after a film.

Louis B. Mayer discovered stars like Greta Garbo, Hedy Lamarr and Greer Garson . He had a lot of respect for talented artists and the saying goes back to him:

I'll kneel down and kiss the ground, where talent walks.
Where the talent goes, I'll kneel down and kiss the floor.

After 1932, more and more Mayer and his conservative taste took over the decision on MGM's production range and thus more and more harmlessly cheerful family films like Andy Hardy moved into the focus of production. In addition, Mayer liked opulent operettas and therefore personally signed Jeanette MacDonald for the studio, who appeared in a number of elaborately produced singing pieces after the success of Naughty Marietta . One of his personal favorite films was not without reason The Great Waltz from 1938, which brought the life of Johann Strauss to the screen with the greatest possible effort and was classified as The Great Schmaltz by not a few critics .

Other stars who started or continued their careers at MGM were the Marx Brothers , Buster Keaton , Fred Astaire , Spencer Tracy , Nelson Eddy , Walter Pidgeon , Rosalind Russell , James Stewart , George Murphy , Gene Kelly , Lana Turner , Van Johnson , Red Skelton , Esther Williams , Frank Sinatra , Cyd Charisse , Deborah Kerr , Judy Garland , Ava Gardner , Grace Kelly , Leslie Caron , Debbie Reynolds , Jane Powell , June Allyson , Roger Moore , Mickey Rooney , Johnny Weissmüller , Eleanor Parker , Ricardo Montalbán , Robert Montgomery and Janet Leigh .

Major child actors signed to MGM include Jackie Cooper , Freddie Bartholomew , Roddy McDowall , Claude Jarman, Jr. , Margaret O'Brien and Jackie "Butch" Jenkins .

A "big happy family"

Louis B. Mayer (right) in a publicity photo with his stars Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney (around 1940)

Mayer not only produced films for a family audience, he also conceived the company itself as a “big happy family”; he himself played the role of patriarch . Although Mayer, who tried to protect the interests of the company, sometimes interpreted his powers very generously, many stars and technicians felt much greater loyalty to the MGM than was otherwise usual in the industry. Many of the employees stayed with the company for decades. So had Lionel Barrymore , the personal favorite performer of Mayer, a lifetime contract with the studio. Robert Taylor , Lana Turner , Clark Gable or Greer Garson, they all worked for well over ten years at the studio, which had considerably better working conditions than Warner Brothers , for example , who were nicknamed "San Quentin of Burbank".

Joan Crawford in particular , who saw Mayer as his personal discovery and was under contract with MGM for 18 years, got along well with the fatherly manner of the studio boss. Mayer, however, could also be quite different, as in the case of Luise Rainer , whom he did not like and whom he threw out after only three years despite two Oscar wins.

Several stars fought with him for money and more influence. One of the few defeats Mayer suffered was Greta Garbo's strike in 1927, who simply proclaimed, "I think I'll go home now," and waited until MGM increased her fee from $ 500 to $ 5,000. In 1932 Garbo was the first contract star to be allowed to found his own production company. Previously, only Marion Davies was granted something similar, but she had brought her company to MGM at the same time.

Torsion bars

The producers of MGM, who were referred to as Production Supervisors within the company until the 1930s , included Cecil B. DeMille (1929–31), who, however, quickly returned to Paramount , David O. Selznick , who as Mayer's son-in-law worked in the studio from 1933–35 and Mervyn LeRoy , who also moved to MGM in 1937 due to family ties. Pandro S. Berman later took over responsibility. Many directors have also been named as producers, such as Clarence Brown , who produced many of Greta Garbo's silent and early sound films. MGM had a variety of in-house directors. George Cukor , Clarence Brown, Robert Z. Leonard , WS van Dyke , Sidney Franklin and Victor Fleming - were mostly technically perfect. The short film department of MGM proved to be a kind of executive forge, producing talents such as Jacques Tourneur , George Sidney and Fred Zinnemann , who later also directed feature films for the company. Directors found at MGM the best technical possibilities that existed within the American film industry. However, there was little room for maneuver for individual artistic decisions. Film projects were conceived by the producers, who often employed several authors in parallel on one and the same project, only to then decide which script should be used and which director should be commissioned with the production. The directors had to be versatile and be able to deliver consistent quality in every genre; they were low-paid service providers who often had to put up with being replaced at short notice or jumping in unnamed in projects in which additional directorial support was required.

Due to the comparatively low reputation of the director, the lateral entry from screenwriting to directing, which was quite common elsewhere, for example at Paramount Pictures , was not possible at MGM. The directors had just as little influence on the post-production as they did on the script . Individual talents like Erich von Stroheim , Josef von Sternberg , Rex Ingram or Mauritz Stiller only managed to create a pleasant working atmosphere at MGM in isolated cases. Thalberg, in particular, was keen to employ good scriptwriters. In 1934 there were over 60 employees in the script department , including such well-known names as Anita Loos , Frances Marion , Bess Meredyth , John Meehan , Charles MacArthur , Gene Markey and Donald Ogden Stewart . The salary was sometimes over $ 3,000 a week. Particularly renowned playwrights, who only signed contracts for a few films, sometimes received $ 100,000, such as Ernest Vajda and top executives such as George S. Kaufman , Frederick Lonsdale , Willard Mack , Dorothy L. Sayers or Bayard Veiller earned such sums for a single film. In addition, however, there were also multitudes of so-called junior writers whose salaries did not exceed $ 50 a week. One of the highest paid writers at MGM was Ben Hecht , who received $ 1000 a day in cash for his work on Viva Villa . David O. Selznick surpassed even Thalberg's pursuit of perfection and dedication for the screenplay of David Copperfield , among others, Hugh Walpole and Howard Estabrook and SN Behrman and WP Lipscomb for A Tale of Two Cities . The well-known epigram goes back to Selznick , he would regret not being able to fall back on Charles Dickens personally. Many well-known authors who were under contract with MGM complained that their work was not being used. The most famous example is F. Scott Fitzgerald , who worked on countless films, including a Joan Crawford film. The actress, who was known to Fitzgerald through her second husband Franchot Tone , visited him personally one day and instructed him: "Work harder, Mr. Fitzgerald, work harder" . In fact, Fitzgerald only got screen credit once (so his name was shown in the opening credits) for Three Comrades , an adaptation of the 1938 novel of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque . His colleague PG Wodehouse didn't get any better either. Typical for MGM was the employment of several scriptwriters on one project. A total of 17 authors worked on the Greta Garbo strip Helga's Fall and Rise .


MGM became the largest producer of motion pictures in the 1930s . Mayer was very interested in promoting traditional values ​​such as marriage and family. Sexually ambiguous films or socio-political topics were the exception at MGM. With the film The Postman Always Rings Twice ( The Postman Always Rings Twice ), which on a story by James M. Cain -based and 1946 Lana Turner and John Garfield was as murderous adulterers, the producer pulled the personal anger from Mayer in coming. With this exception, the studio produced hardly any further examples from the film noir genre . Negative aspects of human coexistence were more or less taboo for Mayer.

The tendency to focus more on sentimental-human aspects became particularly significant during the war years. While other studios produced hard strips that focused on the soldiers' struggles, MGM, with the exception of Bataan , specialized in depicting the home front in the pinkest possible colors. Mrs. Miniver gave a badly embellished picture of the suffering of the English people. The White Cliffs of Dover in 1944 showed war as a marginal phenomenon that tests the love between men and women. In this respect it was almost typical that MGM had no answer to Betty Grable and z. For example, not a single pin-up photo of Lana Turner in a bathing suit was allowed to be taken.

Like all major Hollywood studios, MGM also produced B-movies , but their share was comparatively small. Well-known series were the films around the Thin Man ( The Thin Man ), Maisie with Ann Sothern , Dr. Kildare , Tarzan and of course Andy Hardy , a sentimental comedy series about a village judge and his children. Mickey Rooney , who played harmless jokes in the lead role of his son Andy Hardy, became a crowd favorite and the series became the most successful film series by a studio at all.

In addition, MGM also promoted the production of short films such as B. The Traveltalks by James A. FitzPatrick , the Specialties by Pete Smith (comedies) and a crime series called Crime Does Not Pay (in German: crime does not pay off ; 1935–45). From 1939 to 1944 MGM also produced the popular short film series The Little Rascals . Hugh Harman , Rudolf Ising ( "Harman-Ising" ), Tex Avery , Fred Quimby , William Hanna and Joseph Barbera directed successful cartoons for the company .

Studio facilities

MGM had its headquarters since 1924 on the studio site in Culver City, which Goldwyn Pictures had contributed. The studio complex, which is now the location of Sony Pictures Studios , initially had a floor area of ​​57,000 m², which grew to 757,000 m² by the late 1940s. The area at that time consisted of six outdoor areas, which included a small lake with a harbor, a miniature jungle, a number of parks, a train station, squares and streets built in old and modern architectural styles. The MGM film laboratory produced 45.7 million meters of cinema copies per year. From the 1930s, MGM also produced in England , first in the studios in Denham ( Buckinghamshire ). One of the first productions there was Auf Wiedersehen, Mr. Chips (1939) with Robert Donat and Greer Garson . In 1948 MGM bought the Amalgamated Studios in Borehamwood ( Hertfordshire ) near London , which were henceforth called MGM British Studios . Here z. B. Ivanhoe - The Black Knight (1952), for whom a huge, detailed castle complex was built on the studio premises, as well as the first " Miss Marple " films (1961–1964) with Margaret Rutherford and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968 ). ( Location )

Production process

MGM had established a distinctive quality control through so-called previews under Thalberg . Almost every large-scale production was presented to a test audience several times before it was nationally distributed. The reactions and judgments of the audience were recorded and led to extensive follow-up recordings. Some films were even shot from scratch. So went z. For example, the Marie Dressler comedy Prosperity or Laughing Sinners with Joan Crawford are back on the scene, in the latter film even the previous leading actor was replaced by Clark Gable. On the one hand, this procedure hindered the development of an independent signature for the contract directors. On the other hand, the well-known MGM look was established: bright lighting, soft lighting, opulent sets (preferably by Cedric Gibbons ) and magnificent costumes, especially for the female actors, designed by Gilbert Adrian , the most influential costume designer of his time.

Mayer personally watched the daily rushes of important productions and did not skimp on criticism. When shooting the Myrna Loy film Whipsaw , cameraman James Wong Howe chose a strong chiaroscuro lighting to make Myrna Loy, who, according to the script, had just been up all night with a sick woman, look exhausted. Mayer called Howe over and asked him if he might be indisposed, after all, he had made Myrna Loy look like an old woman. Howe explained his concept and was kicked out of the office with one of the infamous Mayer outbursts. The scene was re-recorded as intended by the studio - and in the film Loy looks in the mirror, perfectly made up, and sighs: "I look terrible."

Technical development

Mayer's rather conservative stance meant that MGM was initially reluctant to tackle the expensive switch to sound film . While Warner Bros. had their first feature film in the cinemas in 1927, MGM only followed in mid-1928 with the film Alias ​​Jimmy Valentine . The slow change, however, had the advantage that the studio could take its time to prepare its stars for the demands of the sound film. Unlike Paramount , who had to replace almost their entire ensemble in 1928/29, MGM had practically no sound film victims . The names established today did not make their debut until mid-1929, when the recording technology was improved, especially through the innovations of Douglas Shearer .

The number revue Hollywood Revue of 1929 , which was produced at great expense and released for rental in mid-August 1929, was the first opportunity to hear most of the top stars. Notable exceptions included Ramón Novarro , who didn't make his first sound film until a few months later, Lon Chaney , who waited until 1930, and, of course, Greta Garbo. The studio spent a lot of time and effort preparing their Swedish star for the new medium and when the Garbo was finally heard in Anna Christie in early 1930 , the announcement “Garbo talks!” Was enough to lure people into the cinemas .

The sound engineers under Douglas Shearer developed the method that is still used today of recording sound and film separately from one another and only copying them together at the end. This made recording easier and gave the camera more mobility. The film The Broadway Melody of 1929 , which was released in late 1928, was the first film to be made using this method. At the same time it was the first real musical flick and advertised with the slogan All Talking - All Singing - All Dancing . The film received the Oscar for best picture.


MGM generated additional income from the rental and distribution of film productions from other manufacturers, including B. William Randolph Hearst's newsreel Hearst Metrotone (1929-67; renamed News of the Day in 1936).

Decline (1951-1969)

After the Second World War was a period of prosperity for the entire American film industry, the number of moviegoers continued to decline after 1947. After many years of legal dispute, from 1949 the studios were also obliged to part with their cinema chains, which in some cases led to significant drops in earnings. The number of televisions doubled almost every year and more and more people preferred to stay at home rather than go to the cinema.

In addition, there was a change in the audience's preference, which saw the glossy films produced by MGM more and more as old-fashioned. In contrast, directors such as William Wyler , Billy Wilder or George Stevens made films that combined demands with artistic taste and were not afraid to deal with socio-politically relevant topics. In addition, there was a gradual decline in the quality of MGM films, which also led to the fact that the annual Oscar nominations had hardly shown any relevant MGM participations since the middle of the decade. The answer to this problem was that the MGM producers were now increasingly relying on color films (television was still black and white and had neither the size nor the image width), especially after the introduction of the CinemaScope process .

Changes in management

From the beginning, Mayer had a number of disputes with Schary, which eventually culminated in an ultimatum that Mayer hastily presented to the President of Loew's, Inc. , the president of Loew's, Inc. , Nicholas Schenck : either he - Mayer - or Schary had to leave the MGM. Schenck decided on Schary and relieved Mayer of his post in 1951. Schary, who now became head of the studio himself, tried to keep up with the zeitgeist by having a number of serious black and white films produced, including Kesselschlacht (1949) and The Red Medal for Bravery (1951). Schary thus showed a way of how modern films could look, but left everything the same in the corporate structure - which was the real cause of MGM's declining profitability. Most importantly, he failed to curb the power of producers and give talented directors greater freedom. Since Schary did not succeed in making the company profitable again, he too had to resign in 1956.

Restructuring of the company

In 1957 MGM made losses for the first time in its history. 1959 followed one of the company's last great success films, Ben Hur . Even if films like Doktor Schiwago or Hotel International were still successful, MGM increasingly lost the reputation of delivering first-class productions. In the 1950s, the cartoon studios were closed. At the end of the 1950s, MGM recognized the possibilities of the new medium of television . MGM's first television series were successful. Nevertheless, the decline could not be stopped. He was exemplary for MGM; it was not just the downfall of individual Hollywood studios, it was the downfall of the studio system . The companies affected did not succeed in adapting their business concept to the market conditions, which changed fundamentally from the 1940s onwards. MGM differed from other major studios only in that it tried most tenaciously to resist doom. MGM has also been working on diversifying its products since the 1940s . The first step in this direction was the founding of the subsidiary MGM Records in 1946 , which developed into one of the most important record producers in the country in just a few years .

In 1955 MGM Television was founded . This television studio, which is also run as a subsidiary of MGM, has produced and co-produced many award-winning and well-known TV series such as Dr. Kildare (1961–66), The Eleventh Hour (1962–64), Mr. Novak (1963–65), Flipper (1964–68), Solo for ONCEL (1964–68), Tom and Jerry (1965–72), Daktari (1966-69), The Forsyte Saga (1967), Medical Center (1969-76), Shaft (1973-74), Twilight Zone (1985-89) and The Pink Panther (1993).

Film production

In order to regain its former reputation, the MGM spared no effort to continue producing lavish prestige films. Since the 1950s, the company has increasingly focused on color and widescreen formats . The driving force behind MGM's experiments with various methods was the head of MGM's research and development department, Douglas Shearer . The first MGM film shot using the CinemaScope process was the historical spectacle Knight of the Round Table, produced in the British studios .

Todd-AO's success led to the development of its own 70mm film system . The lavish large-scale productions Das Land des Regenbaums , Ben Hur and Meuterei auf der Bounty were filmed in Camera 65 . While Ben Hur was an artistic and commercial success, the mutiny on the Bounty was followed by a failure that drove MGM close to financial ruin. The own recording process had to be sold to Panavision , which renamed it Ultra Panavision . Together with the Cinerama company , MGM simultaneously produced The Wonder World of the Brothers Grimm and That Was the Wild West , the only feature films produced using the elaborate three-strip Cinerama process.

No more 70 mm films were made for the next few years. With Super Panavision , a variant of Todd-AO, Grand Prix , 2001: A Space Odyssey , Zebra Ice Station and Ryan's Daughter was finally produced. When Ryan's daughter turned out to be a failure and most of the earlier widescreen films were unable to recoup their production costs, MGM returned entirely to 35mm film production. An exception was the science fiction film Projekt Brainstorm , which contained some scenes shot in Super Panavision format. An early example of a successful large-scale production with normal 35mm film was Doctor Zhivago .

The MGM under Kirk Kerkorian


The MGM Grand Casino Hotel in Las Vegas

In 1969, the businessman Kirk Kerkorian began buying up MGM, in which he achieved a 55 percent majority in just a few months. That same year he named James T. Aubrey, Jr. President of the MGM. Aubrey reorganized and downsized the company. In May 1970 he organized an auction ( MGM / David Weisz Auction ) at which MGM sold thousands of their most famous film costumes and props.

In the early 1970s, the company also had to sell two of its largest studio grounds, which together covered more than 400,000 square meters. Only the 178,000 m² original facilities remained. The Borehamwood studios in England were also closed in 1970; instead, production was carried out in the larger Elstree studios next door . In 1973 Kerkorian sold the MGM distribution system to United Artists .

Also in 1973, Kerkorian opened an MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas . The hotel was the largest in the world at the time, but after a major fire in 1980 it was sold and given a different name. In 1993 another hotel was inaugurated under this name, which was the largest hotel in the world when it opened. This hotel became the basis of the now independent company MGM Resorts International .

In 1981 Kerkorian also bought the bankrupt United Artists . The company was incorporated into MGM, which was renamed MGM / UA Entertainment Company . In 1986 Kerkorian sold the MGM / UA at a high profit to media entrepreneur Ted Turner , who went deeply in debt to raise the high purchase price of 1.45 billion US dollars and was soon forced to return a large part of the acquisition to Kerkorian. This affected, among other things, the name "MGM", all trademark rights to MGM and almost the entire film stock of the United Artists . Turner, however, kept almost all of the film and television inventory that MGM had produced through 1986, as well as a small portion of the inventory of United Artists . Turner sold the studio facilities in Culver City and the associated film laboratory in October 1986 to the television production company Lorimar . The MGM had to give up its headquarters, which had been at this location for 62 years.

Since 1986

Formerly MGM Tower, now Constellation Place

The remaining company was renamed MGM / UA Communications Company . The debts prevented the great success. Only the film rights brought MGM good sales on the video and television market. From 1992 to 2011, the company was located in the newly built MGM Tower on Constellation Boulevard in Century City , Los Angeles. Since August 2011, the company's headquarters can be found at 245 North Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills , California 90210 . MGM no longer operates its own studio facilities, but rents other studios for film productions. In 1997 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer went public for $ 180 million.

MGM after the turn of the millennium

Sale to Sony

Kirk Kerkorian sold Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and its subsidiaries United Artists and Orion Pictures Corporation together with the very large film library in 2005 to a consortium led by Sony . This consists mainly of investment companies. Time Warner also tried to get Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer has since maintained a distribution and co-production agreement with the Sony subsidiary Sony Pictures Entertainment . In Germany, MGM operated a feature film channel between April 1, 2003 and January 2, 2017, the MGM Channel on the pay-TV platform Sky Deutschland .

Starting in November 2009, MGM examined various strategic options in the market in view of the high level of debt (approx. 3.7 billion US dollars). The creditors agreed to postpone payments until the end of January 2010. The sale and / or break-up of MGM has been a topic in the industry media ever since. Competitors Time Warner , 20th Century Fox and Lions Gate, among others, are interested in MGM. With the Indian conglomerate Sahara India Pariwar , another interested party came forward in September 2010 for the takeover of the company.

MGM's uncertain future delayed the development of various film projects. In April 2010, for example, the shooting of the 23rd James Bond film was postponed indefinitely. The real film version of the book The Hobbit , planned by Warner Bros. and MGM , was repeatedly postponed due to MGM's financial problems.

Acquisition by Spyglass

In September 2010, Spyglass Entertainment signed a letter of intent to acquire MGM. On October 29, 2010, the creditors approved the reorganization plan, which included the initiation of insolvency proceedings, the restructuring of MGM and a partnership with Spyglass. MGM filed for bankruptcy on November 3, 2010. Under the protection of the American bankruptcy law ( Chapter 11 ), MGM wanted to get rid of its debts and then merge with the production company Spyglass Entertainment. From 2010 to 2018, Spyglass founder Gary Barber was the company's CEO and Chairman. Under his aegis, MGM co-financed the hugely successful agent thriller James Bond 007: Skyfall with Eon Productions and Sony Pictures , which became the most successful film in the Bond franchise to date with gross revenues of more than $ 1.1 billion. MGM then also financed blockbuster hits like The Hobbit , 21 Jump Street and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters . Thanks to these successes and rigid austerity measures, Barber was able to present a healthy balance sheet for the previously heavily indebted MGM for the first time.

In March 2013, MGM announced that it would buy the remaining 80 percent of the shares in the joint venture EPIX Entertainment LLC , an American television network in the pay-TV sector, for 1.03 billion dollars from Lionsgate and Paramount Pictures .

Takeover by Amazon

On May 26, 2021, MGM and Amazon announced that they had signed a binding agreement under which Amazon would acquire MGM for a price of $ 8.45 billion.

With the purchase, Amazon would also take over the entire MGM catalog, which includes 4,000 films and 17,000 hours of television programming. This content includes, among other things, the rights to James Bond . The completion of the purchase, expected at the end of 2021, is subject to regulatory approvals.

Characteristic are the roaring lion, called "Leo the Lion", and the Latin word Ars gratia artis , which means art for art's sake in German, in the opening credits of the films. This lion was the trademark of Goldwyn Pictures from 1916 to 1924 and was incorporated as the MGM company logo in 1924.

Other MGM films (selection)

For a full list see the IMDb link below .

See also


  • John Douglas Eames: The MGM Story. The Complete History of Fifty-four Roaring Years. London (Octopus / Sundial) 1979, ISBN 0-904230-23-6 .
  • Joel W. Finler: The Hollywood Story. New York (Crown Publishers Inc.) 1988, ISBN 0-517-56576-5 .
  • Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester and Michael Troyan: MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot. Solana Beach (Santa Monica Press) 2011, ISBN 978-1-59580-055-8 .
  • Julie Lugo Cerra and Marc Wanamaker: Images of America: Movie Studios of Culver City. Charleston (Arcadia Publishing) 2011, ISBN 978-0-7385-8200-9 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ John Douglas Eames: The MGM Story. The Complete History of Fifty-four Roaring Years. London (Octopus / Sundial) 1979, ISBN 0-904230-23-6 , p. 5.
  2. Joel W. Finler: The Hollywood Story. New York (Crown Publishers Inc.) 1988. ISBN 0-517-56576-5 , p. 114.
  3. a b c d e f Joel W. Finler: The Hollywood Story, New York (Crown Publishers Inc.) 1988. ISBN 0-517-56576-5 , p. 115.
  4. a b Joel W. Finler: The Hollywood Story, New York (Crown Publishers Inc.) 1988. ISBN 0-517-56576-5 , p.114 f.
  5. ^ Samuel Marx , Screenwriters in Films of the Thirties , pp. 80 ff.
  6. History of the Newsreel ( Memento of May 12, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 21, 2016.
  7. ^ A b c d Joel W. Finler: The Hollywood Story, New York (Crown Publishers Inc.) 1988. ISBN 0-517-56576-5 , p. 116.
  8. Joel W. Finler: The Hollywood Story. New York (Crown Publishers Inc.) 1988. ISBN 0-517-56576-5 , p. 46.
  9. ^ A b c Joel W. Finler: The Hollywood Story, New York (Crown Publishers Inc.) 1988. ISBN 0-517-56576-5 , pp. 116 f.
  10. ^ Solving the Mysteries of MGM Camera 65 and Ultra Panavision 70
  11. a b Sony pays $ 4.9 billion for "MGM"
  12. ^ The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Building
  13. In: Spiegel Online, November 30, 2009.
  14. Bollywood reaches for Hollywood In: Die Welt September 21, 2010.
  15. See Albers, Sophie: "James Bond" studio in debt: Unknown future for 007 at, April 21, 2010 (accessed on April 21, 2010).
  16. "The Hobbit" film: Director del Toro leaves Middle-earth. In:, accessed on May 31, 2010.
  17. Los Angeles (English).
  18. The long infirmity of a Hollywood legend. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . November 1, 2010.
  19. of November 3, 2010.
  20. Dave McNary: MGM Shakeup: Gary Barber Out as CEO . In: from March 19, 2018.
  21. Anita Busch: Behind The MGM Shakeup Shocker! What Happened To Instigate MGM Chairman / CEO Gary Barber's Ouster? In: from March 20, 2018.
  22. ^ Franz Everschor : The resurrection of the "MGM lion". In: film-dienst 1/2014, page 27
  23. "MGM buys EPIX for 1 billion" (English) In: from April 5, 2017 (accessed on June 29, 2017).
  24. Amazon and MGM have signed an agreement for Amazon to acquire MGM . In: from May 26, 2021.
  25. a b c Brent Lang, Todd Spangler: Amazon Buys MGM, Studio Behind James Bond, for $ 8.45 Billion . In: from May 26, 2021.
  26. On a shopping spree in Hollywood: Amazon buys the MGM | film studio HZ. Retrieved May 26, 2021 .

Coordinates: 34 ° 3 '25.4 "  N , 118 ° 25' 3.2"  W.