Fans anxious to hear definite word about the Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis DVD movies must resort to reading the internet tea leaves, as no “official” word seems to be forthcoming, one way or the other. We’ve heard rumors of filming dates, but none of the cast has said they have a deal in place, and we know the scripts are not yet finalized.
Based on recent hints, fans might need to prepare themselves for yet more uncertainty and delay. First, MGM Studios, which has to fund the movies’ production, is in deep debt amid the current financial turmoil. As the New York Times reported:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the 85-year-old movie studio behind “The Wizard of Oz” and the James Bond franchise, has hired an adviser to help restructure its mountainous $3.7 billion in debt and keep its film pipeline running,
Analysts have also grown concerned about the studio’s ability to raise financing for new film production amid the depressed credit markets. MGM has scaled back its ambitions to produce as many as 12 movies a year.
It’s likely that as DVD-only movies, the two Stargate films would not be counted among the 12 productions; still it does not bode well in that MGM doesn’t seem to have capital to invest in anything remotely risky. The SG-1 movies were by all accounts more successful than expected, but the DVD market has since been in decline, as reported here.
In his blog entry for 12 June, Joe Mallozzi also described some financial realities:
In addition to the stark realities of a suffering DVD market (the victim of a perfect storm of circumstances – the evolution of alternate media platforms, the recession, and – my #1 suspect – Blu-ray). In order to set an official date for the commencement of principal photography, the studio – which is taking the lion’s share of the risk by bankrolling the production – must first sort out a number of issues. Still, as I’ve been saying all along, we all want to make this movie (me most of all as, from a purely mercenary standpoint, I’ll be producing it – and not for free), and we now have a first draft script in place.
These hints point to the need for fans to adjust expectations about filming in 2009. Perhaps we can give MGM the confidence it needs to fund the movies by buying the upcoming Stargate DVD releases: the SG-1 Children of the Gods remix, and Stargate Atlantis Season 5. Strong sales will prove DVDs still have a place on the shelves of Stargate fans!