MGM’s financial woes are the stuff of legend at this point.
As long as I’ve lived in Los Angeles… just over twenty years at this point… MGM has been “in trouble.” There have been several major shifts in ownership, and who owns what, and the MGM library has been broken up and resold many times over. As a result, this latest round of MGM difficulty has been a fair amount of white noise for me, more of the same, with the notable exception of the fates of “Bond 23” and “The Hobbit.”
Those were the biggest stories tied up in this larger story, and as Greg Ellwood wrote last night, it looks like “Bond 23” has become terribly important to Sony. And why not? They had a major part in both “Casino Royale” and “Quantum Of Solace,” and they’ve gotten used to that James Bond money. They’ve also been part of laying some narrative groundwork that I hope pays off finally in this next film, and with Sony already in the Daniel Craig business in a big way with Fincher’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” it makes sense that they want to keep track of him and be part of scheduling his time over the next few years.
But now that the big questions are out of the way, there are a few other important issues on the table, and it looks like Sony may be riding to the rescue of some smaller films that need the help. In particular, “Red Dawn” and “Cabin In The Woods,” which have been missing in action for a while now, and which are both movies that deserve their day in court.
With “Red Dawn,” they’ve got a great cast full of breakout stars who have actually become more valuable during the time the film’s been on the shelf. After all, now you’ve got Thor starring in your film, and Josh Hutcherson and Adrianne Palicki and Isabel Lucas and Jeffrey Dean Morgan have all got fans, and taken as a group, that’s a cast that makes me at least interested in seeing what they’ve done to the John Milius original.
With “Cabin In The Woods,” you’ve got a promising and uber-high-concept script that tweaks the iconography of teen horror movies in a way that I can promise we’ve never seen before onscreen, and you’ve got Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard involved. You’ve also got cast members like Jesse Williams and Amy Acker and Jodelle Ferland and… oh, look at that, it’s Thor again. Throw in Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford to mix it up and keep it from just being another teen parade, and it sounds like a film we should have seen back in October of 2009, when it was first set for release.
The good news is that these films are going to find a home. The question mark is just what that means. Will Sony invest in giving them a full theatrical release? Will they shuffle them over to Screen Gems? Will they get perfunctory releases before they are sent to DVD and Blu-ray?
That’s what we don’t know yet. But at least we’re finally hearing some rumblings of release for these films and for whatever else is still lingering on the MGM shelf at this point. Here’s hoping the films and the filmmakers are given a fair shot, and that we get a chance to decide for ourselves as viewers whether these movies deserved their time in limbo, or whether they are gems, finally rescued from an unjust imprisonment.
We’ll have more as the details of the releases come into focus.