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MGM has cut some 50 staffers from across the studio in the latest round of layoffs to hit Hollywood in the wake of coronavirus-related shutdowns.
The pink slips were handed out Friday, affecting every division of the studio and its staff of 750. Likewise, nearly a third of United Artists Releasing — a joint venture between MGM and Annapurna — was furloughed. An insider said there were no senior ranking people of note affected by the cost-cutting measures. Senior management also took “voluntary pay reductions,” according to a memo sent to staff. The moves were enacted “to ensure the continued strength of our company” and that “MGM remains in a strong position overall [in the face of] extraordinary events,” the memo continued.
The MGM cuts follow a series of Hollywood layoffs and furloughs that have affected agencies like Endeavor and Paradigm and such studios as Disney and Lionsgate.
MGM appeared to be riding out the global pandemic and had even made a series of film hires since most of the nation locked down, including bringing in Pamela Abdy as motion picture group president. In recent weeks, the studio also greenlighted and dated for 2021 the Lady Gaga-led drama Gucci, which will be directed by Ridley Scott. But MGM has not been immune to the challenges that have rocked the industry. It took a $30 million hit when it moved its highly anticipated James Bond film No Time to Die to November just weeks before its April release.
The pandemic has shuttered movie theaters from Beijing to New York as social distancing becomes the new normal across the globe. Studios including MGM have been forced to halt production on films and TV series (MGM’s upcoming season of Survivor was put on hold after the novel coronavirus began wreaking havoc worldwide).
A copy of the internal memo shared with employees is below.
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,
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