Investors want to give MGM $500 million to start making new productions according to Nikki Finke at Deadline.com. Relativity Media, backed by a hedge fund, must see the profit potential in projects and properties like “The Hobbit” and further James Bond films. The report says this offer was made three weeks ago which means they probably weren’t following TORn’s advice, but maybe those holding MGM’s $3.7 billion debt will, and allow this to happen. In any case, the auction for MGM seems to be dead. If this deal is accepted, “The Hobbit,” could go forward right away. One also wonders if last Thursday’s long meeting was more about urging the bondholders to accept an offer like this and less about asking them for more money directly. Of course, investors may also want to carefully watch their money and that taps into the deepest fears of financiers wanting creative input into films. But with the LOTR track record of Producer Peter Jackson and proven visionary Guillermo del Toro directing, those fears are tempered. Thanks to Sunflower on our message boards and the many pairs of eyes keeping us up to date.
Nikki Finke writes: I just heard that Universal has declined to exercise an option to co-finance DreamWorks’ Tintin with Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson set to begin filming in October. The decision was quietly made a few weeks ago. So now DreamWorks will look only to owner Paramount for the rest of the moolah in the same way the two shared financing on Dreamgirls and Transformers. Unfortunately, Paramount is presently without an overall financing deal to mitigate risk, but is arranging it on a film-by-film basis. I say Tintin — to be played by Love Actually’s Thomas Sangster — sounds like an expensive but safe bet, considering that the beloved Belgian boy is a worldwide phenomenon, and that the two great filmmakers are directing and producing even though also participating as huge first-dollar-gross players. This latest wrinkle would be more interesting if, say, Uni’s decision hurt its about-to-become-closer relationship with DreamWorks. But it didn’t. As I already reported, GE’s Jeff Immelt and Uni’s Ron Meyer dined with Spielberg and Stacey Snider Thursday night while NBC Uni’s Jeff Zucker spent the better part of that afternoon with Steven planning out the rebuild of the fire-ravaged backlot.