Producer Matt Tolmach, who has two projects at MGM, including the horror film “Dark Harvest,” which will release on September 23, said Mr. De Luca’s passion for good stories is infectious. “He read the script and he called me, and we had an hour-long conversation about the possibilities and how wonderful it would be and how we could push the boundaries,” he said of “Dark Harvest.” “That’s what he does. He makes your movie better.”
As Mr. De Luca sees it, the new MGM is about “treating filmmakers like a franchise”, he said. When he and Ms. Abdi first joined forces, the two compiled a list of 36 directors they hoped to woo the studio. In 15 months, he has captured 20 percent of them, including Darren Aronofsky, Sarah Polley, Melina Matsukas, and George Miller.
“We don’t mind big swings and gambles because I think it’s either going big or going home,” he said. “I think audiences reward you if you’re really original, innovative, bold and creative.”
At a shareholder meeting last month, Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos described the reason behind the acquisition as “very simple.” He added that MGM had “a huge, deep list of very beloved movies and shows”. “We can reimagine and redevelop that IP for the 21st century.”
This is in stark contrast to the approach taken primarily by Mr. De Luca and Ms. Abdi.
“Mike and I don’t sit and say let’s raid the library and remake everything,” Ms. Abdi said. “Our focus is on the original idea with the original author and the actual filmmakers, but you know every time something will come up that’s fun and we’ll push it if we think it makes sense.”
Those ideas include a hybrid live action/animated remake of “Pink Panther”; Michael B. Jordan is directing the third installment of ‘Rocky’ spinoff ‘Creed’; and “Legally Blonde 3” with Reese Witherspoon and a script co-written by Mindy Kaling.