Studio moving on 5 pics; announces co-financing on 'Hansel and Gretel'

The Lion has finally started to really stir, with MGM announcing its first post-bankruptcy co-financing deal Thursday and studio execs telling creative reps that it’s moving on a quintet of projects, including remakes of 1980s pics “Mr. Mom” and “The Idolmaker” and long-gestating reboots of “RoboCop” and “Poltergeist.”

Paramount announced Thursday that MGM’s come on board to co-finance “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” — studio’s first such deal since completing its reorganization and receiving a $500 million cash infusion late last year.Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton star in “Hansel and Gretel,” helmed by Tommy Wirkola and shot in 3D with a March 2, 2012 release date. The fairy tale retelling is set 15 years after the siblings killed the witch.

Meanwhile, MGM execs have been making the rounds of major agencies to put out the word as to priority projects after former Spyglass president Jonathan Glickman came aboard two weeks ago as president of its motion picture group.

Glickman filled the role vacated last fall by Mary Parent, who came on board in 2008 and ramped up production before MGM’s massive debt forced a development deep freeze.

MGM’s telling reps for the town’s creatives that it’s aiming to start moving the following five projects toward production:

n A reboot of “RoboCop.” Pic was being fast-tracked for a 2010 release as the first potential tentpole to come together under Parent’s regime, with director Darren Aronofsky attached at one point. Phoenix Pictures’ Mike Medavoy, who produced the original film for Orion in 1987, was on board as producer alongside Arnold Messer, Brad Fischer and David Thwaites.

n A reboot of “Mr. Mom.” The 1983 original, directed by Stan Dragoti and written by John Hughes about a stay-at-home dad, starred Michael Keaton and Teri Garr.

n A remake of 1980’s “The Idolmaker.” Original was directed by Taylor Hackford and starred Ray Sharkey as a mercenary music promoter who takes on two boys with the intent of turning them into teen idols.

n A “Hercules” project. Project has been in development at Spyglass with Peter Berg producing. Story centers on the mythical figure, having turned his back on the gods, becoming a mercenary and training a ruthless army.

n A fourth “Poltergeist.” The original was released in 1982, followed by sequels in 1986 and 1988.

A rep for MGM had no comment about the development slate.

Key decision facing MGM is whether to go with Sony in a distribution pact that would encompass the 23rd James Bond pic, set to go into production later this year. Sony emerged last week as the leading contender as Paramount, Warner Bros. and Fox fell out of the running.

In early January, MGM swapped international distribution on “The Hobbit” with Warner Bros. in exchange for Warners picking up its share of production costs, estimated at $265 million to $275 million.

(Justin Kroll contributed to this story.)

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