Here's the basic financial rundown: MGM has over $3.7 billion in debt, and the best offers to purchase the company have come in at just $1.5 billion. Those two numbers are pretty damned far apart.
Just to put things in perspective, here's a rough rundown of all the films that MGM has put out over the last decade, with budget, revenue and net. This is very rough since the incestuous nature of Hollywood releases means that you'll often see a half dozen different companies with hands in the mix due to production, distribution, etc. Additionally, this doesn't include the other dozen things a company like MGM does on the side, like straight-to-video, television series, and money laundering. The numbers are culled from Wikipedia and IMDB and as such shouldn't be used for any book reports, but they give a good idea of the scale of MGM's operations. Numbers are all in millions.
|2000||Return to Me||24||8||-16|
|2001||Josie and the Pussycats||22||15||-7|
|2001||What's the Worst that Could Happen?||45||32||-13|
|2002||Die Another Day||142||432||290|
|2003||A Guy Thing||20||17||-3|
|2003||Agent Cody Banks||28||59||31|
|2003||Legally Blonde 2||45||125||80|
|2003||Jeepers Creepers 2||17||63||46|
|2004||Agent Cody Banks 2||26||28||2|
|2005||The Brothers Grimm||88||105||17|
|2005||Into the Blue||50||18||-32|
|2005||Yours, Mine and Ours||45||53||8|
|2005||The Amityville Horror||19||108||89|
|2006||The Pink Panther||80||182||102|
|2006||Basic Instinct 2||70||39||-31|
|2006||School for Scoundrels||35||24||-11|
|2007||The Flying Scotsman||11||1||-10|
|2007||Who's Your Caddy||7||6||-1|
|2007||Death at a Funeral||9||47||38|
|2007||Lions for Lambs||35||63||28|
|2008||Vicky Christina Barcelona||15||96||81|
|2008||Quantum of Solace||200||586||386|
|2009||Taking of Pelham 123||100||150||50|
Ah, some of those bombs bring back memories, and you can see the blockbuster mentality buried in that profit column. A full 45% of the profits came from the three James Bond films alone.
So they've managed to rack up more debt than they even had expenditures in making films, even though the films themselves have made money overall. Just what the fuck are they spending all that money on? Somewhere in the ballpark of $2.7 billion spent making films, and $3.7 billion of debt. It's largely a rhetorical question, it doesn't really matter if the money was lost because the MGM Grand fell into a sinkhole or they borrowed money in order to finance their secret underground war with Disney's cybernetic mice. The point is that one of the big original film companies has managed to detonate its eighty-year-old self by doing stuff other than making films.
They've got the rights to the James Bond franchise and the two films of The Hobbit, which is basically a license to print money. Owning the rights to those and going bankrupt is like dying of scurvy when you live in an orange juice factory. There's mismanagement, there's incompetence, and then there's truly epic level stupidity.
(source: The One Ring)