The Lion pounces on multimedia

MGM is jumping on the multimedia bandwagon.

In a presentation yesterday at the Home Media Expo, Marcia Spielholz, a vice prexy of business and legal affairs at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. laid out an aggressive plan to mine its library for material that could be turned into videogames and interactive TV shows.

This is the first disclosure that MGM, a unit of French bank Credit Lyonnais, wants to tap this new market. The projects will be contracted to outside companies or developed in joint ventures.

The studio owns the United Artists library that consists of the James Bond films, Pink Panther and “Rocky” series. A game could let viewers select Bond’s villain.

More important, MGM plans to recycle its valuable classics library that was sold to Ted Turner in 1986. MGM retained the homevideo rights and has successfully negotiated with Turner to turn them into interactive projects.

“We can show how “Casablanca” or “The Wizard of Oz” was made,” Spielholz said. “Or, be able to show the dance steps behind “Singing in the Rain.”

All three titles are part of the MGM Home Video library.

“They own homevideo rights,” said Roger Mayer, president of Turner Entertainment Co. “They do not have the right to pick it apart of use the characters.”

In another project, MGM is looking at beefing up the educational quality of “Twelve Angry Men,” the Sidney Lumet classic. The film about a jury debating a verdict for a capital case has long been used to instruct corporate decision making.

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