MGM's getting funky.
Keepin' it cool, the onetime Hollywood home to Mickey-and-Judy musicals has announced plans to launch an urban fashion line inspired by its 1970s blaxploitation flicks, including Foxy Brown, Hell Up in Harlem, Cooley High and Coffey.
The move comes as MGM is enduring an unfashionable year at the box office. While James Bond (via Die Another Day) may yet save the day, even 007 couldn't defuse the bombs that were Windtalkers ($110 million budget; $40 million gross) and the Rollerball redo ($70 million budget; $19 million gross). All told, the studio has recorded a $121 million net loss this year, the Associated Press reports.
Enter clothes, à la Foxy Brown. MGM's line of contemporary designer duds, produced by urban outfitter Willie Esco, pays homage to the boogie-era stylings of black film stars like the bootylicious Pam Grier and superbad Godfather of Harlem Tommy Gibbs, who played the kingpin in Black Caesar.
According to the Associated Press, the line includes denim jackets, jeans, gym clothes and athletic gear. All items will display the famous MGM lion logo on their tags.
The studio plans to hype its foray into the fashion world with a college tour next spring. Look for the campus caravan to feature performances by urban Atlantic Records artists (sorry, no names yet), screenings of Cooley High (the comedy that spawned the high school sitcom What's Happening!!) and a fashion show.
According to Industry analysts, MGM's designing plans aren't the answer to the studio's woes, but they're a start.
"It certainly helps cover some of the interest expenses and some of the rent, so it's a reasonable strategy," Harold Vogel of Vogel Capital Management tells the Associated Press. "But you have to sell a lot of sneakers to make up for Windtalkers."
(Hey, Windtalkers sneakers--now, that's an idea.)
Currently, MGM's marketing division is focused on its television unit, pushing toys and action figures based on its Stargate SG-1 and new Outer Limits series.
But if all goes well with Foxy sweatpants and Black Caesar jackets, expect a deluge of other MGM film-related goodies to hit retail stores near you.
And with the studio recently announcing plans to produce a movie inspired by the Girls Gone Wild voyeuristic video franchise, perhaps a lingerie line might be in order, too.