MGM and United Artists experience layoffs

(Layoffs hit MGM and United Artists)

As has already been reported on multiple occasions, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the film industry with production delays and most summer tentpole films pushed back until later this year or 2021. MGM Studios has reportedly laid off at least 50 people and the company’s marketing and distribution division, United Artists Releasing, has furloughed one-third of its staff.

The MGM layoffs Friday represent about 7% of MGM’s 750-person workforce, Variety reports. The cuts came across the entire operation, including scripted and unscripted television and feature film departments.

Meanwhile, United Artists Releasing, a distribution venture between MGM and Annapurna Pictures, has deferred employment for 80 workers, or about one-third of its staff. 

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In addition, senior management at both companies will take voluntary salary reductions across all divisions, according to a memo sent to staff obtained by Variety.

MGM management said in the memo that while the company “remains in a strong position overall,” the coronavirus pandemic has forced the temporary shutdowns of virtually all global productions and delayed film releases. 

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“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 said. “Unfortunately, these changes necessitate some permanent reductions of our workforce.  All impacted employees have been notified.”

MGM was the first company to delay a major film release when it pulled the James Bond film No Time To Die just weeks before its scheduled April 10 opening. The studio postponed the film until Nov. 25, but company faces losses from marketing and publicity spending that was already spent before the delay. 

There is hope that some of UA’s team will return by the summer, when Bill & Ted Face the Music, starring Keanu Reeves, is set to be released Aug. 21. The studio’s other upcoming films include Nia DaCosta’s remake of the horror film Candyman and the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect in December.  

SOURCE: Variety