MGM has a major case of sequelitis. Yesterday’s Variety reports:
In 1969, when the jaunty former CBS president Jim Aubrey showed up at MGM with a mandate to revive the studio, the first thing he did was kill all 15 big-budget, commercial pictures in the pipeline, including “Tai-Pan” and “Man’s Fate.”
Fast-forward to 2006: MGM chairman-CEO Harry Sloan, who’s been at the Lion just under a year, is doing exactly the opposite.
Having barely finished remaking MGM into a pure distribution and marketing outlet for producers of mid-range indie pics, Sloan is moving the studio aggressively into the tentpole biz.
Over the next few years, MGM is planning to release half a dozen films, some in the $150 million to $200 million-plus range. Studio is ready to unveil such high-profile projects as “Terminator 4“; one or two installments of “The Hobbit,” which Sloan hopes will be directed by Peter Jackson; and a sequel to “The Thomas Crown Affair” with Pierce Brosnan.
It has already announced a “Pink Panther” sequel and the next 007 pic “Bond 22,” due out in November 2008. “Rocky Balboa” unspools in February. . . .
Read that again: “one or two installments of ‘The Hobbit'”. So let me guess: because The Lord of the Rings was a three-picture franchise, it follows that any prequel to that series must, itself, be divided into multiple movies? (Hat tip to IGN FilmForce.)