MGM partners with Tom Cruise, Paula Wagner to revive United Artists

MUMBAI: United Artists (UA), the studio founded by movie greats Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith some 85 years ago and responsible for delivering film franchises as Rocky, Pink Panther and James Bond will be reborn.

This is being done through a partnership formed between Cruise, Wagner and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), which was announced by MGM chairman and CEO Harry E. Sloan.

Cruise and Wagner were previously with Paramount before they parted ways earlier this year ending a 14 year relationship.

Along with their substantial ownership, Cruise and Wagner will have control of setting the company's production slate, from development to production greenlighting ability, subject to certain parameters. Wagner will serve as chief executive officer of United Artists alongside her longstanding producing partner Cruise, who will star in as well as produce films for United Artists and also be available to appear in film projects for other studios, asserts an official release.

Cruise last teamed up with the original UA in Rain Man in 1988. In establishing United Artists as a new entity, MGM and Cruise/Wagner will look to return the studio to its former roots by recognising what made UA great in the first place -- studio management by creative talent who can best encourage and support other creative talent.

The studio will be reborn as a place where producers, writers, directors and actors can thrive in a creative environment, developing and producing entertaining film projects. The plan would allow artists throughout the community to pursue their creative visions outside of the traditional studio system, adds the release.

The studio plans to have a production slate of approximately four films each year, which may increase in the future. Worldwide marketing and distribution will be handled by partner MGM. UA will be a major supplier of feature films to MGM, with production and development of UA movies being fully financed by MGM and its partners.

Sloan said, "Tom and Paula are the modern versions of the iconic founders of United Artists -- Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith -- and our partnership with them reaffirms our commitment to providing creative talent with a comfortable home at United Artists and a dedicated distribution partner in MGM. "

Cruise said, "Paula and I are very respectful of the rich history and tradition of United Artists, and we welcome the opportunity to contribute to that legacy by providing a wide range of releases that appeal to all audiences. It's our desire to create an environment where filmmakers can thrive and see their visions realized."

MGM COO Rick Sands said, "Providing Tom and Paula with the ability to greenlight films under the UA banner validates MGM's commitment to and recognition of independent producers as the true creative nucleus of Hollywood filmmaking.The resurgence of United Artists will take us another step closer to realizing the full revitalization of MGM. Harry and I are personally thrilled to be working with Tom and Paula."

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