Amazon is spending $8.45 billion to buy MGM, the 97-year-old studio behind the “Rocky” and “James Bond” franchises, as well as TV shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale.” MGM is a shell of its former self and was on the hunt for a buyer. That nearly $9 billion price tag is close to what MGM was asking for, and is mere pocket change for the tech giant.
The MGM purchase comes with 4,000 titles, which provides Amazon an instant library of films and TV shows to add to the fare made in its own studio. While Amazon has niche hits like “Transparent” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the streamer hasn’t had a ton of success developing its more mainstream properties like “Jack Ryan” and “Borat” without help from other studios.
There’s sadness in certain parts of the industry as one of the oldest studios now falls into the hands of Amazon, where it’s unclear if CEO Jeff Bezos really cares about the movie business, or is just using the creative assets to boost Amazon Prime subscriptions so that users will buy more socks or groceries.
Now that they own the studio behind 007, Amazon no doubt has hopes of creating a James Bond TV series and other spinoffs. But with Bond, comes complications. The real power behind the franchise still rests with Barbara Broccoli and her family. They get final say on who the next Bond will be and how Bond films are released. The Broccoli family has been offered vast sums of money for Bond before. They’ve never relented, but they’ve also never had a suitor like Jeff Bezos.
The other wildcard in this deal is Mark Burnett. The mega-producer has had success with shows like “Survivor,” “Shark Tank,” and “The Apprentice,” but once he joined MGM, he wreaked havoc within the company and failed to keep pumping out the hits. It’s unclear how he’d fit in at Amazon, if at all, plus there’s the question of what happens to the infamous unaired “Apprentice” tapes that possibly contain footage of Donald Trump saying or doing inappropriate things.