On November 3, burdened by approximately $5 billion of debt owed to a group of lenders with interests in its most meaningful asset, its massive library of films, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer — the venerable studio that brought you such classics as The Wizard of Oz, Ben Hur, andSinging in the Rain — filed for bankruptcy.
For most people who weren’t interested enough to read past the headline — or who were scared away by the ceaseless puns about “the lion in winter” (appropriately, an MGM film) and “the lion’s roar” — the images that may have come to mind probably involved forcible removal of office furnishings and the iconic MGM Tower looking like a giant, glass-and-steel, boarded-up Blockbuster Video (a banner swaying in the L.A. breeze declaring “Every Unreleased Picture Must Go!”). The reality, of course, is completely different and far more mundane. [Ed. Note: Except, perhaps for one thing: this morning’s Hollywood Reporter reports that MGM is paying a “one-time fee” to break its lease and vacate the MGM Tower after all. The studio is moving to a fancy new building in Beverly Hills, which is itself currently the subject of a dispute between the landlord and William Morris Endeavor, which was to move into the building prior to the WMA/Endeavor merger.]
MGM didn’t close its doors on November 3. And no, you cannot acquire worldwide distribution rights to The Return of the Pink Panther at yard sale prices. Instead, after months of protracted negotiations, MGM filed a so-called “pre-packaged bankruptcy,” promising to be up and running within a month. And, lo and behold, on December 2, a Manhattan bankruptcy court approved MGM’s Plan of Reorganization, effectively re-releasing the lion into the wild (I made fun of puns in headlines; I made no promises about body text).
Of course, unless you’re a film-loving bankruptcy lawyer, you are probably left scratching your head about the events of the last month and a half. Luckily, you have me — a film-loving bankruptcy lawyer — to help sort this all out. In three easy questions: Continue reading the full story . . . »