Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Annapurna Pictures have formed a new joint venture for theatrical distribution in the United States. The movie is both a return to U.S. theatrical distribution for MGM, and a continued expansion of Annapurna who launched their marketing and distribution arm earlier this year.
That latter includes plenty of executives who’ve worked with MGM CEO Gary Barber over several decades so the deal is something of a homecoming. Annapurna and MGM will share funding for the joint venture’s operations, but each studio will retain creative control over their individual projects. The already established marketing and distribution team established at Annapurna will facilitate campaigns for all MGM titles, which will be distributed under the MGM banner. MGM’s newly resurrected Orion Pictures label will remain as is.
Annapurna-produced films will continue to be distributed under Annapurna’s already established label. The pair have also formed a releasing entity called Mirror, to pursue theatrical releasing opportunities for third-party films supported by considered approaches to marketing, publicity, and distribution, while allowing creators and investors to maintain individuality and their brands.
MGM expects to release a slate of approximately 6-8 films per year beginning with the “Death Wish” remake on March 2nd, the “Valley Girl” musical remake on June 29th, Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting With My Family” on September 14th, the “Creed” sequel on November 21st, and both Chris Weitz’s “Operation Finale” and the “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” remake “Nasty Women” which aren’t currently slated.
Annapurna expects to release a slate of around 4-6 films per year with 2018’s slate including Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Jacques Audiard’s “The Sisters Brothers,” and Adam McKay’s untitled Dick Cheney project starring Christian Bale.
The obvious elephant in the room is Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond in 2019. With the distribution deal with Sony Pictures on the films having expired, several studios have vied for the rights to release the film including Annapurna.
This deal offers a natural distribution channel in the U.S. for the new film along with incorporating a team with a history in marketing and distributing a number of Bond films. The press release doesn’t make mention of the next Bond film’s domestic release, but does say worldwide distribution for the 25th installment of Bond franchise will be announced at a later date.