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MGM Studios lays off 7% of staff as coronavirus continues to hit Hollywood

Lashana Lynch, Daniel Craig and Naomie Harris in "No Time to Die."
Lashana Lynch, left, Daniel Craig and Naomie Harris in MGM’s “No Time to Die,” which was among the first major films to delay its theatrical release amid the coronavirus outbreak.
(MGM / YouTube)

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, the entertainment company behind the James Bond franchise, is making permanent cuts to its workforce as the coronavirus crisis continues to hit employment in Hollywood.

Executives at Beverly Hills-based MGM disclosed the cuts in a Friday memo to staff, citing the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down film and TV productions and forced studios to delay movie releases as theaters remain closed.

MGM is cutting 7% of its 750-person workforce, resulting in roughly 50 layoffs across multiple divisions, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to comment. Variety first reported the cuts.

“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,” MGM’s leadership wrote. “Unfortunately, these changes necessitate some permanent reductions of our workforce.”

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MGM’s newest 007 feature, “No Time to Die,” was among the first major films to delay its theatrical release as fears of the novel coronavirus spread. Senior managers have taken unspecified pay cuts to help stop the bleeding, the executives said in their memo, which was signed “MGM Leadership.”

The studio is the latest high-profile entertainment company to cut jobs as theater closures and production delays put pressure on finances across the industry.

Megan Ellison’s West Hollywood studio Annapurna Pictures this week laid off seven people, 10% of its staff, including its chief financial officer.

United Artists Releasing, a joint distribution venture of MGM and Annapurna, will furlough a third of its 80-person staff, a representative confirmed Friday. Health benefits will be covered during the furlough period.

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It’s not just independent studios that are feeling the pain.

Beverly Hills talent agency owner Endeavor said one-third of its workforce, or roughly 2,500 employees, will be affected by furloughs, have their positions eliminated or be shifted from full-time to part-time work. Walt Disney Co. has furloughed more than 100,000 people, or nearly half its workforce, during the closure of theme parks and film and TV sets.

Along with the James Bond series, MGM is known for films including “Creed” and last year’s “Addams Family” animated movie.

MGM, which endured a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, is led by Chairman Kevin Ulrich, who is the chief executive of investment firm Anchorage Capital Group, one of MGM’s major shareholders. In January, the company replaced its motion picture group head Jonathan Glickman with producer Michael De Luca.

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“Please know that we did not make these decisions lightly,” company leadership said in its staff memo about the layoffs. “We are deeply grateful to our friends and colleagues for their contributions to the studio and are working to support them with this transition.”


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