The reports had been coming in for weeks that Amazon was circling MGM, but today it became official. Amazon has agreed to purchase (pending regulatory approval) the historic Hollywood studio, and all its assets, for $8.45 billion, just a bit less than the $9 billion number that had been floating around. It’s still a premium price for a studio that many valued closer to $5 billion, but Amazon wanted MGM’s franchises and film library to bolster Amazon Prime’s streaming platform.
MGM had been shopping itself around for a while now, but no one was biting as the studio wanted far more than analysts (and other potential buyers) thought it was worth. However, Amazon is seeing the sale of WarnerMedia to Discovery and realizing its need to strongly bolster its streaming efforts with known entities. MGM delivers that to Amazon, with 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows in its catalog along with valuable franchises like Tomb Raider, Rocky, Pink Panther, RoboCop, and Stargate. There are also the prestige films in MGM’s lengthy library with the studio claiming more than 180 Oscars and 100 Emmys. It definitely expands Amazon’s streaming library in a truly drastic and quality way.
There’s also the giant elephant in the room: James Bond. The franchise is a money-making juggernaut and the crown jewel of MGM’s IPs. However, part of the reason that other studios saw MGM’s value at around $5 billion is because of Bond’s unique rights agreement. Eon Productions, the studio that has made every Bond film and is run by the same family that kicked the franchise off, has incredible creative control over the character. That means Amazon can’t just run away with the franchise and do whatever it wants (TV shows, spin-offs, yearly films) in order to capitalize on the name.
Instead, it’ll need approval from Eon for anything it wants to do with the character, and the studio has been reluctant to do anything but the regular films. Eon is also a big fan of theatrical releases, meaning we probably won’t see James Bond landing on Amazon Prime Video day and date any time soon. But notably, the Bond films are in transition at the moment, with No Time to Die being Daniel Craig’s last outing as the character.
None of that seems to have put a damper on the sale for Amazon, though. “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of [intellectual property] in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” said Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, highlighting the vast array of franchises the streamer can start spinning up. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”
Get ready for Thelma & Louis 2: How We Survived Driving Off a Cliff.