MGM Film Chief Jonathan Glickman to Step Down; Michael De Luca Takes Top Job (Exclusive)

MGM's Jonathan Glickman - Getty - H 2019
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The president of MGM's film group is leaving the position he has held for nine years.

Jonathan Glickman is stepping down as president of the MGM Motion Picture Group to move into a first-look production deal with the studio, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. Veteran film executive and producer Michael De Luca will step into the top job at MGM, the studio confirmed Friday after sources told THR he was being eyed for the role.

Glickman currently oversees the studio's film development, production and co-financing opportunities, as well as supervising live stage productions. He has held the role since 2011, when he came to MGM with Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum from Spyglass Entertainment. In 2018, Barber was ousted as MGM CEO. The storied studio has since been run by an "Office of the CEO," including its private equity owners and Mark Burnett, the well-known producer who runs MGM's television arm. 

Glickman's contract was last renewed in 2016 to run through February of this year. In an internal memo sent to staff on Friday, MGM's board of directors said Glickman will oversee the completion of the upcoming James Bond film, No Time to Die. His first project as producer with the studio is the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson. 

“I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to work on movies that I love, with some of the most talented filmmakers in the world, and with colleagues that consistently inspired me," said Glickman in the memo. "I am extremely enthusiastic about our 2020 slate, I can think of no better way to conclude this studio run than a third Bond film with Michael, Barbara, Daniel, Cary and company on No Time to Die. I’m excited to return full-time to my first professional passion — producing entertaining and compelling films — while continuing to collaborate with the brilliant MGM team.”

De Luca will be the chairman of MGM's motion picture group and will report directly to the studio's board of directors. He will oversee MGM’s global film operation, including film development, production, marketing and distribution that encompasses Orion Motion Pictures. De Luca also will join the board of United Artists Releasing, the joint distribution venture with Annapurna Pictures, and will oversee MGM's stage production division. He will start in February.

"I am incredibly honored to be taking on this role at MGM and greatly look forward to working with Kevin Ulrich, the entire Board of Directors at MGM and United Artists Releasing, and everyone at the company," De Luca said in a statement. "MGM is a revered label within the film industry with a long, rich history and I could not be any prouder to join this studio as we head into the year 2020. I look forward to being part of the team which will lead MGM’s film legacy forward with new movies from visionary talent and diverse, original voices. I am especially excited to be stepping into a situation where I get to work with Jonathan Glickman again, his excellent taste and talent make him an invaluable producer for the studio going forward.”

Added Kevin Ulrich, MGM's chairman of the board: "It is rare to find an executive who is as experienced and respected inside the studio system as well as in the filmmaking community. Mike's incredible passion for the industry guides all that he does. We are looking forward to Mike taking the reins of MGM’s Motion Picture Group and using his unique talents to grow the renowned MGM library."

MGM, under Glickman, has grown its film business exponentially in the past decade, following the studio's 2010 bankruptcy. It released two successful James Bond films, Skyfall and Spectre (Glickman is said to have developed a strong relationship with Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson), relaunched the Rocky franchise with Creed and its sequel and in 2019 grossed $200 million with The Addams Family, the studio's first wholly produced and distributed animated feature. It also saw underwhelming performances last year with The Hustle (as part of its United Artists Releasing subsidiary) and The Sun Is Also a Star (in partnership with Warner Bros.). 

MGM is set for release No Time to Die in April, as well as Jordan Peele's horror reboot Candyman in June and Bill and Ted Face the Music in August. It also has a third installment of Legally Blonde in development, with Reese Witherspoon returning in the lead role.

The studio also has a first-look deal with George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures; a film adaptation of Gail Honeyman’s novel Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine in partnership with Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner; and Addams Family 2 due out in 2021.

Brooklyn native De Luca is a veteran executive who made his name at New Line Cinema and DreamWorks and produced such films as The Social Network, Moneyball and the Fifty Shades franchise. He also produced the Oscars in 2018 and 2019. 

Jan. 3, 1 p.m. Updated to include details from internal MGM staff memo.
Jan. 3, 1:30 p.m. Updated to include statement from De Luca.