Amazon Completes Purchase of MGM Studios
The company now has access to MGM’s back catalogue of thousands of movies, including the long-running James Bond franchise.
In one of the biggest movements in the corporate world since Disney began acquiring other companies, Amazon has completed a deal to merge with movie/TV studio MGM.
The $8.5 billion deal – just think, you too could have bought MGM if you had that down the back of the sofa – means that Amazon now has access to more than 4,000 film titles and 17,000 TV episodes, which will be a helpful boost for its Prime Video streaming service.
Though while Amazon is now in charge of future MGM movie releases, it is reportedly “excited” by the company’s upcoming slate (which includes George Clooney’s ‘The Boys in the Boat’, Zach Braff’s Florence Pugh/Morgan Freeman drama ‘A Good Person’ and sci-fi movie ‘Landscape with Invisible Hand’ and doesn’t foresee any changes to that schedule.
This new wrinkle also doesn’t mean that all MGM films will automatically become exclusive to Prime Video, and the studio will continue to support future theatrical releases via Amazon Studios. It also means that the MGM brand will stay in the movie and TV world, albeit as an Amazon company.
Perhaps the biggest part of the acquisition is that Amazon now owns the rights to the storied James Bond franchise, though control over what is made under that title is still held – for now – by longtime Bond shepherds Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, who run Eon productions. They have final say on casting, production, marketing and more to do with the British spy, who has been played by several actors – most recently Daniel Craig – in his long run.
“For better or worse, we are the custodians of this character,” Broccoli, who oversees the franchise with her half-brother Michael G. Wilson. “We take that responsibility seriously.”
The Eon team has always resisted spinning off the character into TV shows and other media, though you just know Amazon would love to have a Bond universe the way that Disney has put a load of extra Star Wars and Marvel content into the world.
“MGM has been responsible for the creation of some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed films and television series of the past century,” says Amazon’s Mike Hopkins. “We look forward to continuing that tradition as we head into this next chapter, coming together with the great team at Prime Video and Amazon Studios to provide audiences with the very best in entertainment for years to come.”
The Amazon/MGM deal had been big enough that the Federal Trade Commission had been rumored to sue and block it, but obviously it decided to let it go through.
It's just the latest mega-deal for big entertainment companies – Warner Bros. parent WarnerMedia will join forces with Discovery once that merger is signed and sealed, likely next month. Following that, we firmly expect Disney to buy everyone else.