Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., or MGM, is an American media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of films and television programs.
MGM was founded in 1924 when the entertainment entrepreneur Marcus Loew gained control of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures. Loew combined them into a new film company with Mayer as its head of production. The newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was intended to provide quality feature films for the Loew's Theatres chain and was wholly owned by Loew's Incorporated.
From the end of the silent film era through World War II, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was the most prominent motion picture studio in Hollywood, with the greatest output of all of the studios: at its height, it released an average of one feature film a week, along with many short subjects and serials. A victim of the massive restructuring of the motion picture industry during the 1950s and 1960s, it was ultimately unable to cope with the loss of its theater chain – due to the U.S. Supreme Court decision United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. (1948) – and the power shift from studio bosses to independent producers and agents.
On April 8, 2005, the company was acquired by a partnership led by Sony Corporation of America and Comcast in association with Texas Pacific Group (now TPG Capital, L.P.) and Providence Equity Partners. MGM Mirage, a Las Vegas-based hotel and casino company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "MGM", is not currently affiliated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Sony Pictures currently distributes MGM/UA and Columbia TriStar co-productions— including the recent Casino Royale—but outside of the co-productions MGM is now actively involved in acquiring worldwide film rights and distributing theatrical motion pictures in the United States. 20th Century Fox is handling the international theatrical distribution and worldwide home video distribution of MGM titles, excepting those which Sony Pictures acts as majority partner.
Established in 1924, MGM is tied for the fifth-oldest movie studio in history with Columbia Pictures. The studio's motto, "Ars Gratia Artis", is Latin meaning "Art for art's sake."
On April 16, 2009, MGM will celebrate its 85th Anniversary.