Palisades Media Group, also Santa Monica-based, was awarded the MGM theatrical business in March. It worked on one movie for MGM--"Material Girls," starring Hilary Duff.
Analysts peg the quick move to Amy Gruberg's recent arrival at MGM as a senior media buyer. She had been the senior media-buying executive at DreamWorks Pictures. In the staff reshuffling that occurred after Paramount Pictures acquired DreamWorks, Gruberg was out of a job.
MGM executives were not available for comment regarding the agency switch. Roger Schaffner, CEO of Palisades Media Group, had no comment. MGM is looking to launch some 20 theatrical movies a year, with production budgets of $15 million to $60 million.
MGM COO Rick Sands was instrumental in bringing MGM to Palisades, since he was familiar with the agency. He held a senior film executive position at Miramax Films, a longtime client of Palisades.
Back in March, Sands told MediaPost, in reference to Palisades Media's seasoned acumen in buying media for movies: "Roger [Schaffner, chairman/CEO of Palisades] gets it."
Palisades has other film clients--film producer The Weinstein Co. (which has a theatrical distribution deal with MGM), Lions Gate Films and Lions Home Video, Paramount Classics, as well as video game producer Electronic Arts and New Line Cinema interactive.
It's usually considered a conflict when a media agency has more than one client in the same business. To avoid competitive clashes, all of Palisades' film clients have separate teams devoted only to their movies.