MGM shake-up. Film leaders leaving after Amazon deal

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Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, the heads of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios’ film business, are leaving the company, in a move that comes shortly after Amazon took over the storied studio.

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Amazon closed its $8.5-billion deal to purchase MGM in March.

MGM is the home of a 4,000-film library and produces movies such as the James Bond series and the “Creed” films. The studio is now part of a group of businesses overseen by Mike Hopkins, who also runs Amazon Prime and Amazon Studios.

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De Luca and Abdy will depart this summer, which, Hopkins said in a Wednesday email to staff, would allow the company to continue its “phased and measured approach” to integrating MGM with Prime Video and Amazon Studios.

“As I said at our town hall in March, nurturing MGM’s legacy of quality storytelling is a top priority. MGM has indeed become a home for great storytellers,” Hopkins said in the email. “And this home is only going to expand, as we invest and work together to release an even larger theatrical slate in the years ahead.”

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Hopkins did not name replacements. Hopkins is taking time to assess how the leadership of the film group at MGM should be organized, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment.

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Speculation in Hollywood had swirled over how Amazon would manage having leadership teams of MGM and Amazon Studios under the same corporate roof. Amazon Studios, which makes shows such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” is run by Jennifer Salke.

De Luca and Abdy, both respected film business executives, had made strides to beef up MGM’s slate even during the COVID-19 pandemic. They joined in early 2020. De Luca’s title is motion picture group chairman, while Abdy is motion picture group president.

Their departures were their decision, the pair said in their note to staff announcing the move. They did not specify what they planned to do next.

The shake-up doesn’t change the role of powerful reality TV producer Mark Burnett, MGM’s worldwide television group chair.

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MGM’s recent releases include the latest James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” and the musical “Cyrano.”

Some in the film business had worried that Amazon would change MGM’s film strategy to fuel its streaming service as rivals invest in films to draw more subscribers. But Hopkins’ letter, referencing a “larger theatrical slate,” indicated that Amazon doesn’t want MGM’s movies to go straight to streaming.

The news comes during CinemaCon in Las Vegas, where theater owners and studios gather to tout their film schedules and discuss hot industry topics, including theatrical “windows,” meaning the amount of time movies play in theaters exclusively before becoming available online.





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