Wednesday January 30 3:49 PM ET
Yo Adrian! Rocky, Other Films May Be MGM Musicals
By Bob Tourtellotte
LOS ANGELES [Reuters] – Move over MEL BROOKS.
If film studio MGM has its way, “Rocky: the Musical” may just be Broadway‘s next big hit, rivaling BROOKS‘ current smash ”The Producers” as the hottest ticket in town.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. said on Wednesday it has launched a new initiative under long-time business and legal executive Darcie Denkert to develop new products, starting with Broadway shows, from its huge library of old films.
Already in development, the studio said, are stage plays based on comedies like “The Pink Panther” films from the 1960s and 1970s, which will be produced by BLAKE EDWARDS . Actor JOHN LITHGOW is set to star in a version of 1957’s “Sweet Smell of Success,” and stage versions of romances “Marty” and ”Moonstruck” are being worked on, an MGM spokeswoman said.
On the horizon could be any one of the roughly 4,100 titles MGM holds in its library of films billed as the world’s largest catalog of modern movies. Off the list, are the MGM musicals of the 1930’s and 1940’s, whose rights were sold years ago.
Still, rags-to-riches boxer Rocky, portrayed in the movies by action hero SYLVESTER STALLONE and owned by MGM, could be tromping the boards on The Great White Way sometime soon.
No doubt, key lyrics to any song in “Rocky: the Musical” would be, ``Yo!” and the wailing “Adrian.”
“(Denkert‘s) ties to the Hollywood and Broadway creative and business communities provide us with the ideal blend of resources to help energize our renowned library properties,” MGM Vice Chairman Chris McGurk said in a statement.
Denkert takes the job of President, MGM Entertainment Business Group, which will focus on creating new products from old library titles across all of MGM‘s businesses, including film, television, home video and music.
But her first effort will be spearheading the efforts of the new MGM on Stage business unit, which MGM has created to develop stage plays from its old films.
MGM is not the first studio to look to Broadway for new business. The Walt Disney Co. has turned hit animated movies such as “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast” into stage plays both on Broadway and in touring companies.
BROOKS wrote and directed “The Producers,” the 1968 film about a washed-up theater producer and his accountant who set out to bilk money from investors by making a Broadway flop.
The director of such classic film comedies as “Blazing Saddles” put the story on stage, and it became one of Broadway‘s biggest recent hits, starring MATTHEW BRODERICK and NATHAN LANE.
Denkert began her career as a theatrical lawyer involved in Broadway and off-Broadway productions, and subsequently has worked for MGM and its United Artists film unit for a total of 25 years, joining UA‘s legal department in 1977.
In addition to naming Denkert as head of the new entertainment business group, MGM is decentralizing its entire business affairs operations, shifting reporting to its various divisions in film, television, home video and music.
MGM is 81 percent owned by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, and is currently looking for merger partners in order to expand its distribution platforms.
– Craig Zablo