Founded: April 17, 1924
Subsidiaries: United Artists, MGM
Television, Epix, This TV, MORE
Parent organizations: MGM Holdings, Metro-
Founders: Louis B. Mayer, Marcus Lowe
Record label founded: MGM Records
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is an American media company,
founded in 1924, that produces and distributes feature films and
television programs. It is based in Beverly Hills, California.
Marcus Lowe formed MGM by combining Metro Pictures, Goldwyn
Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures into a single company. It’s slogan
was "more stars than there are in heaven"—and soon became one of
Hollywood’s "big five" film studios, producing popular movie musicals
and winning many Oscars. The company also owned film studios,
movie lots, movie theaters and technical production facilities.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) was formed in April 1924 by theater magnate Marcus Lowe, who
orchestrated the merger of Metro Pictures Corp., Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions.
With visionary Louis B. Mayer and production genius Irving Thalberg at the helm, MGM, with its
legendary roaring lion logo, was a powerhouse of prolific artistry and filmmaking expertise. During a
golden three decades from 1924 to 1954, the Culver City-based studio dominated the movie business,
famously attracting "more stars than are in the heavens" and creating a Best Picture nominee at the
Academy Awards® every year for two straight decades. Historically, in 1939 two of MGM's most iconic
films, Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz, were both nominated for Best Picture. Gone
With the Wind ultimately took home the Best Picture prize . The Wizard of Oz would go on to
secure two Oscars of its own.
United Artists (UA) joined the MGM family in 1981 and quickly thrived as member of the "lion's
pride." Established on July 15, 1919 by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W.
Griffith, UA was best known as "the company built by the stars." The budding studio quickly left an
indelible mark on Hollywood, revolutionizing the motion-picture business by promising creative
freedom to actors and filmmakers, while offering the filmmakers a share of the film's profits.
As a company, MGM boasts more than 177 Academy Awards in its vast library. Among those are 12
Best Picture Winners. These films include; Hamlet (1948), Marty (1955), The
Apartment (1960), West Side Story (1961), In the Heat of the Night (1967), Midnight
Cowboy (1969), Rocky (1976), Annie Hall (1977), Platoon (1986), Rain Man (1988), Dances With
Wolves (1990), The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
The studio's official motto, "Ars Gratia Artis", is
a Latin phrase meaning "Art for art's sake". It was
chosen by Howard Dietz, the studio's chief
publicist. The studio's logo is a roaring lion
surrounded by a ring of film inscribed with the
studio's motto. The logo, which features Leo the Lion,
was created by Dietz in 1916 for Goldwyn Pictures and
updated in 1924 for MGM's use
MGM's first television program, The MGM Parade, was produced by MGM's
trailer department as one of the compilation and promotional shows.
Parade was canceled by ABC in the 2nd quarter of 1956.
MGM Television was started with the hiring of Bud Barry to head up the
operation in June 1956. MGM Television was to distribute its films to TV
(starting with the networks), TV production and purchasing TV stations. TV
production was expected to start with the 1957–58 season and was to include
half-hour remakes of, or series based on, its pictures. Initial feature film sales
focused on selling to the networks.
In 1956, MGM sold the television rights for The Wizard of Oz to CBS. The
studio was all too happy to see Oz become, through television, one of the two
or three most famous films MGM has ever made, and one of the few films that
nearly everybody in the U.S. has seen at least once
The year 1957 also marked the end of MGM's animation department, as the
studio determined it could generate the same amount of revenue by reissuing
older cartoons as it could by producing and releasing new ones. William Hanna
and Joseph Barbara, by then the heads of the MGM cartoon studio, took most
of their unit and made their own company, Hanna-Barbara Production, a
successful producer of television animation.
mid-2009, MGM had US$3.7 billion in debt, and
interest payments alone totaled $250 million a
year.MGM was earning approximately $500 million a
year on income from its extensive film and television
library, but the economic recession is reported to have
reduced this income substantially.
MGM could avoid voluntary or involuntary
bankruptcy had been a topic of much discussion in the
film industry. MGM had to repay a $250-million line of
credit in April 2010, a $1-billion loan in June 2011, and
its remaining US$2.7 billion in loans in 2012
In December 2020, MGM began to explore a potential
sale of the studio, with the COVID-19 pandemic and
the domination of streaming platforms due to the
closure of movie theaters as contributing factors.
On May 17, 2021, online retail and technology
company Amazon entered negotiations to acquire the
studio. The negotiations were made directly with
MGM board chairman Kevin Ulrich whose Anchorage
Capital Group is a major share holder. On May 26,
2021, it was officially announced that MGM will be
acquired by Amazon for $8.45 billion
MGM is a leading entertainment company focused on
the production and global distribution of film and
television content across all platforms. The company
owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium
film and television content.
On the TV side, MGM is an award-winning producer
and global distributor of premium content for
television and digital platforms and has investments in
numerous other television channels, digital platforms.