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MGM Has Sucked For a Long Time
MGM going out of business (sort of) is not much of a surprise to those of us who have 'tried' to do business with them over the years. They have been developmentally challenged for a very long time. It's amazing to me how bad so many studios are at what they do. It's pretty simple. Make good movies, and sell them. That's it. Yet, time and time again we see studios struggle to do this.
Well, the answer is, people. That's why they struggle. You take people who have no business background and made their way up the ladder reading scripts (or, reading the coverage for scripts) put them in charge of a multi-billion dollar business, and...well...there you have it. How often does this happen in the real world? Oh, hi, you have an English degree from Yale? Super. Manage my hedge fund. Super.
It doesn't happen.
Producers used to 'retire' to studios after lucrative, meaningful careers. Guys and dolls who were immersed in the biz, in the trenches, nails for breakfast, man. People who could get shit done. Those people used to run the business. They knew the business. Today, many of these people at studios never even made a film short. They know what a grip is, but have never even met one.
That's the reality, folks. And, most execs who actually know and are passionate about filmaking get run off because these ninnies feel threatened.
We're all to blame for the current state of Hollywood, but you can place the blame for the downfall of MGM squarely on the people who have run the studio. It's just not that complicated. Make great movies, and sell them. That's what MGM used to do.
Lord knows they've had every opportunity to do that, and couldn't.
And, by the way--they gave Tom Cruise his own studio. They gave UA to Tom Cruise. To run. As in, they gave an actor a studio. To run. I totally get the pseudo Robert Evans model here (out of desperation), but Tom Cruise didn't leave acting to be a producer. And, Robert Evans was never an international star. The comparison was really apples and oranges.
Or, maybe just rotten fruit.