Roger Birnbaum transitions to producing in shakeup at Lion
Spyglass Entertainment as a financing-producing banner. Spyglass saw its greatest successes with “The Sixth Sense” and “Bruce Almighty”; the duo own the Spyglass library. “I respect Roger’s decision to return to his passion of ‘hands-on’ producing, and we are thrilled he has chosen to stay at MGM on an exclusive basis,” Barber said. “We have shared many successes together, and I look forward to many more. I have the utmost confidence in Roger’s ability to produce many of our key upcoming productions, and I could not be happier that we will continue to work together.” MGM Holdings’ board of directors head Ann Mather said in a statement, “We want to thank Roger and look forward to him producing upcoming MGM films and have full confidence in Gary continuing to lead the company with the talented management team in place.” Barber and Birnbaum were appointed co-chairmen and CEOs of MGM in December 2010 as the company emerged from a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Since that time, they have secured a distribution and co-financing partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment, which includes “Carrie,” “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “21 Jump Street” and the 23rd James Bond pic, “Skyfall.” Warner Bros. is partnered with MGM on the three upcoming “Hobbit” films, with WB assuming MGM’s share of producing costs in exchange for taking over the international distribution and homevid on the films from MGM. The Lion is partnered with Paramount on “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” and “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.” In addition, Barber and Birnbaum renewed MGM’s home entertainment distribution pact with Fox last year, extending the agreement through 2016. MGM TV shows created during the Barber-Birnbaum tenure include “Vikings” and “Teen Wolf”; MGM is also in development on the upcoming “reimagined” unscripted series “Fame” in partnership with Nigel Lythgoe. MGM put itself up for sale in August 2009. Its pre-packaged bankruptcy wiped out more than $4 billion in debt and led to a $500 million cash infusion arranged through JPMorgan. A public stock offering is under consideration at the company, which announced in August that it had posted second-quarter earnings of $42.1 million, or nearly four times the $12.2 million in earnings in the 2011 quarter. MGM had disclosed in July in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was considering an IPO under new legislation that allows companies with under $1 billion in revenue to keep the process confidential until 21 days before a roadshow.