They Resurrected MGM. Amazon Bought Studio. What will happen now?


De Luca’s passion for good stories is contagious, said producer Matt Tolmach, who has two projects at MGM, including the horror movie “Dark Harvest,” set to hit theaters September 23. “He read the script and called me and we had an hour-long conversation about the possibilities, how great this would be, and how we could push the boundaries,” he said for “Dark Harvest.” “That’s what it does. It makes your movie better.”

As Mr. De Luca sees it, the new MGM is all about “treating filmmakers like franchises.” When he and Abdy first joined forces, the duo compiled a roster of 36 directors they hoped to get into the studio. In 15 months, they caught 20 percent, including Darren Aronofsky, Sarah Polley, Melina Matsoukas, and George Miller.

“We don’t mind big swings and gambling because I think it will either be big or go home,” he added. “I think the audience rewards you if you are truly original, innovative, bold and creative.”

At a shareholder meeting last month, Jeff Bezos, founder and chairman of Amazon, described the reasoning behind the acquisition as “very simple.” He said MGM has “a large, deep catalog of hit movies and shows.” “We can reimagine and re-develop this intellectual property for the 21st century.”

This goes against the first approach taken by Mr. De Luca and Ms. Abdy.

“We didn’t say Mike and I would sit down and raid the library and do it all over again,” Abdy said. “Our focus is on original writing and original ideas with real filmmakers, but you know that once in a while something fun will come out and if we think it makes sense, we’ll go after it.”

These ideas include a mixed live-action/animated version of “Pink Panther”; Michael B. Jordan, who directed the third episode of the “Rocky” spin-off series “Creed”; and “Legally Blonde 3” with Reese Witherspoon and a screenplay co-written by Mindy Kaling.


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