MGM has been hit with layoffs, while its marketing and distribution arm United Artists Releasing (UAR) has furloughed one-third of its staff, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.
7 percent of jobs were eliminated at MGM on Friday — around 60 jobs — with cuts impacting all departments in the TV and film spaces. Members of senior management at MGM have taken voluntary pay reductions across all divisions of the company, a memo sent to staff on Friday read. Senior management at UAR will also take salary reductions.
“In the face of these global economic and industry business challenges, we have undertaken certain actions to mitigate the current financial impact on our business and to ensure MGM is well-positioned for the future,” the memo read. “To that end, we are reconfiguring certain divisions of the studio to allow MGM to operate more effectively in a changing media landscape, both during this pandemic, and beyond. Unfortunately, these changes necessitate some permanent reductions of our workforce. All impacted employees have been notified.”
UAR is the joint distribution venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures. MGM was faced with a financial loss when it was forced to move one of the most anticipated titles of the year, “No Time to Die,” just weeks before its release in April due to the coronavirus. The James Bond franchise is a major money maker for the studio, and by the time the film was moved, money had already been spent on marketing for the film.
MGM’s UAR is releasing “Bill & Ted Face the Music” next, which is still set for an August 21 release date. UAR anticipates that employees will return in time for the film’s release.
MGM is also set to release Nia DaCosta and Jordan Peele’s “Candyman” remake, as well as the Aretha Franklin biopic, “Respect.” MGM’s TV credits include “Survivor” and “Shark Tank.”
Earlier this week, Annapurna laid off a “modest” number of staff members as well, including the company’s CFO James Pong. The layoffs mainly affected assistants and some junior staff members. According to Variety, which first reported the layoffs, a total of seven employees were let go. And two weeks ago, Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions was hit with layoffs and pay cuts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Senior leadership took salary reductions, while eight roles across film and TV were cut, ranging from executive assistants to mid-level executives.
Many major Hollywood studios and production companies, including Disney, have been hit with layoffs due to the pandemic.
Variety first reported the news of MGM’s layoffs.
Read the full memo below.
April 24, 2020
We are writing today to provide an update on MGM’s response to COVID-19 and the steps we are taking to address the current challenges facing our industry and to ensure the continued strength of our company. Our priority remains the health and well-being of the employees, talent and critical support staff who together produce and distribute MGM’s exceptional content.
While MGM remains in a strong position overall, the extraordinary events related to the global pandemic have impacted our entire industry, with virtually all global productions currently on hold and film releases delayed. The most difficult part of this situation from a business perspective, as you can imagine, is that we do not know when this will change.
In the face of these global economic and industry business challenges, we have undertaken certain actions to mitigate the current financial impact on our business and to ensure MGM is well-positioned for the future. To that end, we are reconfiguring certain divisions of the studio to allow MGM to operate more effectively in a changing media landscape, both during this pandemic, and beyond. Unfortunately, these changes necessitate some permanent reductions of our workforce. All impacted employees have been notified.
The MGM senior management team have taken voluntary pay reductions across all divisions of the company.
Please know that we did not make these decisions lightly. We are deeply grateful to our friends and colleagues for their contributions to the studio and are working to support them with this transition.
We remain committed to facing these challenging circumstances together and are confident MGM will emerge stronger on the other side. Our content is performing extremely well and our library, one of Hollywood’s largest, is as valuable and as productive as ever both in the U.S. and abroad. MGM will continue to operate our business for long term success.
Thank you to everyone in the MGM family during this ever-changing situation and to all those who continue to successfully manage our global operations under incredibly difficult conditions.
Stay safe and well,