Amazon buys MGM, setting Prime Video up for James Bond, Rocky to move in


No Time to Die is the next (delayed) film of the James Bond franchise.

MGM / Universal

Amazon on Wednesday sealed $ 8.45 billion deal to buy Hollywood’s iconic studio company MGM James Bond And the Rocky franchise. The deal sets a course to enhance Amazon Prime Video with new programming mined from MGM’s long history and to strengthen Amazon’s existing original production arm, Amazon Studios.

Amazon said MGM’s beloved film and TV franchise is a gold mine that it can dig into as it creates new programming – think of reboots, sequels, spin-offs and more new interpretations.

Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, Mike Hopkins, said in a release, “The real financial value behind the deal is a wealth of IP in deep catalogs that we plan to develop and develop together with MGM’s talented team Are. ” . “It’s very exciting and offers a lot of opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”

This is the biggest deal for Amazon since the $ 13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods grocery chain in 2017.

Beyond films, MGM operates a TV studio that produces shows such as A Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and Fargo on FX. (It is common for studios to do programming for other streaming services and networks that they do not have.) MGM also runs Epics, a cable TV network, and apps. MGM has been up for sale for months, and several outlets previously reported progress in negotiations that eventually resulted in a deal by Amazon and MGM.

But – thanks to video licensing and the Byzantine nature of ownership – Amazon’s purchase of MGM may not mean that new MGM movies will come directly to Amazon Prime Video. Nor does it mean that Prime Video is going to automatically get a huge flow of all the classics that you associate with MGM’s roaring lion introductions. Amazon said on Wednesday that it had not made any comments about MGM’s library of content or its access to Prime Video or anywhere else.

Take the James Bond film franchise. MGM helps produce James Bond films, including No Time to Die, the next installment of which will be released in theaters on 8 October. But the creative control of the Bond films remains in a small production company related to MGM called Eon Productions; The people calling the shots are essentially a sister and brother whose father passed creative control over the franchise. That company makes big decisions, such as when should the next Bond film come out, who will be the new Bond, whether or not Bond should get a TV series.

MGM’s new films also feature licensing arrangements with ViacomCBS’s Paramount Plus, which is set to stream films such as No Time to Die, House of Gucci and Creed III, their full theatrical release and a window of time when they are on Epics Are specific to. The terms of MGM’s licensing deal with Paramount Plus are not publicly known, including whether Paramount Plus gets any exclusivity on the streaming availability of the films. It’s also unclear what will happen to Epix’s exclusive domain when streaming some new MGM movies, if, as Amazon says, Epics has been remade as a part of Prime Video. (Paramount Plus did not respond to messages seeking comment on the streaming license.)

And you certainly shouldn’t expect Amazon Prime Video to bring those classic films MGM back to the heyday of the Hollywood studio system – think The Wizard of Oz and Singin ‘in the Rain. Those films now stream on HBO Max because the service’s parent company, WarnerMedia, has owned them for years. Amazon will have to bring WarnerMedia to the negotiating table if it wants to bring them back.

Amazon’s news comes as streaming video has never been more popular, and competition has never been more fierce. Over the past year, a parade of media giants and tech giants have launched their own rivals for Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, with services such as Apple TV Plus, Disney plus, Hbo max And Peacock Roll out. The so-called streaming war affects how many services you should use – and often pay – to watch your favorite shows and movies online.

But intense competition in streaming has also led to a wave of consolidation among media companies. Disney merged Fox, Viacom and CBS, and AT&T bought Time Warner (and then signed a deal last week to sell it as a Discovery from WarnerMedia). MGM was one of the few small media assets, as the competitive advantage in the industry freezes around being a giant – or part of a giant – to survive.

Amazon’s MGM acquisition is still subject to regulatory approval and other customary conditions before closing.

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