Horror injects life into MGM lineup


The new MGM, as revived by chairman and CEO Harry Sloan, has struck a variety of distribution agreements with outside producers — and the results have been quite a mixed bag.

The distributor enjoyed its biggest success with the Weinstein Co.'s "1408," the PG-13 horror show adapted from a Stephen King story. Grossing $71.5 million, the film prospered where other, more hard-R horror movies recently have failed. But MGM also plunged into R-rated horror, releasing the Weinstein Co.'s "Halloween," Rob Zombie's remake of John Carpenter's 1978 classic, which scared up $30.6 million over the Labor Day weekend, when it opened as the frame's top film.

The Weinstein Co. found less traction with such other titles as "The Nanny Diaries" ($16.7 million); "Who's Your Caddy?" ($5.6 million), the first release from Our Stories Prods., the new partnership between the Weinsteins and Robert L. Johnson; and the Zach Braff comedy "The Ex" ($3.1 million), from 2929 Prods.

Dramas proved problematic: The Kevin Costner thriller "Mr. Brooks," from Element Films and Relativity Media, only managed to collect $28.5 million, and Werner Herzog's war story "Rescue Dawn," which MGM had a hand in producing, was missing in action with just $5.4 million.

Meanwhile, "Death at a Funeral," Frank Oz's very British comedy from Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, is still trying to build an audience, having taken in $4.7 million in three weekends of limited release.