MGM Motion Picture Group chairman Michael De Luca has resigned from his role at Amazon, and Motion Picture Group president Pam Abdy is also exiting the company, the two told staff in a memo, all following the legacy studio’s acquisition by Amazon earlier this year.
An individual close to De Luca said that he left “on his own accord.”
“We will depart our roles this summer,” the memo to staff said. “We are confident that the exciting vision Prime Video and Amazon Studios has for MGM and the organization Mike Hopkins is building along with Jennifer Salke and team, will guarantee MGM’s continued success.”
The news comes one month after Amazon’s $8.5 billion takeover of MGM. Amazon Studios SVP Mike Hopkins announced after the acquisition became complete that De Luca, TV chief Mark Burnett and COO Christopher Brearton would be part of Hopkins’ interim leadership team. And Hopkins in his own memo on Wednesday said that for now the interim leadership structure would remain in place. The longer term status of Burnett and Brearton is still unknown.
“Mike and Pam have decided to leave MGM to pursue the next chapter of their careers,” Hopkins said in his memo. “I know you’ll join me in thanking them for their leadership, working with each of you to bring compelling storytelling to audiences worldwide. We wish them both continued success. As I said at our town hall in March, nurturing MGM’s legacy of quality storytelling is a top priority. MGM has indeed become a home for great storytellers. And this home is only going to expand, as we invest and work together to release an even larger theatrical slate in the years ahead. Doing this requires an amazing team, and the more we get to know you all, the more impressed we are.”
De Luca took over as chairman of MGM’s Motion Picture Group in January 2020, following Jonathan Glickman’s departure after a nine-year tenure, and Abdy joined as the Motion Picture Group president shortly thereafter in April 2020.
De Luca during his time at the studio was known for his relationships with talent and his knack for paying a premium to land projects like Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Best Picture nominee “Licorice Pizza,” though neither was a box office hit. He also navigated the release of the final James Bond movie “No Time to Die,” and he was also behind MGM’s recent box office success, Channing Tatum’s low-budget “Dog” from earlier this year.
Read the full memo from De Luca and Abdy below.
A little over two years ago we came to MGM to help restore its vibrancy among the storied studios of the last century and we are proud to say, thanks to all of you and your efforts, it is mission accomplished. With our goal achieved, and as we look ahead, we feel now is the right time for us to move on and explore our next chapter and challenge. We will depart our roles this summer. We are confident that the exciting vision Prime Video and Amazon Studios has for MGM and the organization Mike Hopkins is building along with Jennifer Salke and team, will guarantee MGM’s continued success.
Beginning with our arrival in early 2020, we were given the opportunity to revitalize and quickly grow MGM’s film slate by creating a home for the world’s best storytellers to make films for global audiences. We could not have imagined that shortly after our arrival the world would be impacted by a pandemic that essentially shut down our industry, nor could we have foreseen the various immediate and longer term challenges the pandemic would put in our path.
With the support of every member of MGM’s production team, and with our filmmaking partners by our side, we were able to get back to making movies and ultimately put in motion a deep bench of films, from filmmakers including Ridley Scott, Paul Thomas Anderson, Joe Wright, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin, Ron Howard, George Miller, Billy Porter, Sarah Polley, Chinonye Chukwu, Cory Finley, Zach Braff, George Clooney, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Seligman, Luca Guadagnino, Zoe Kravitz, Rachel Morrison and many others, with the goal of creating a lineup of movies that would appeal to every kind of audience. Included among our slate are several films from Orion Pictures, which we relaunched under the leadership of Alana Mayo in August of 2020 amid the long overdue examination of America’s relationship with race, with the goal of making films exclusively focused on – and brought to us by – underrepresented voices.
It’s been our honor and privilege to preside over a revitalized studio that navigated, along with our partners at Eon, the right release date for Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond and seeing the film become one of the highest grossing films of 2021; while also seeing the studio earn eight Academy Award and seventeen BAFTA-nominations, with Licorice Pizza earning the studio’s first Best Picture Academy Award-nomination in over thirty years.
You, as well as our colleagues at UAR and Universal and all our filmmakers, have made all this possible and we are so grateful to have been part of such an incredible team. We are also grateful to Kevin Ulrich and everyone at Anchorage Capital, along with Chris Brearton, for bringing us in and wish everyone at Prime Video and Amazon Studios and MGM nothing but the best success going forward.
Michael DeLuca and Pam Abdy