Amazon has secured a deal to buy MGM’s entire catalog for $8.45 billion dollars, it was announced today. MGM titles includes more than 4,000 films like the James Bond franchise, Moonstruck, Legally Blonde, Rocky, The Pink Panther, The Silence of the Lambs and Poltergeist plus over 17,000 hours of television shows.
While the biggest get from this purchase will be the James Bond franchise and its over $16B in revenue over 24 films with long-delayed No Time To Die set to finally see theaters this October. But Amazon has also been trying to carve out a place for itself in the Oscar race, beginning with Manchester by the Sea in 2016 (which netted them Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay) up to Sound of Metal this year (the Sound and Film Editing winner). The timing couldn’t be better for both MGM and Amazon in that regard as the struggling studio has several potential contenders this year including the new updated and musical version of Cyrano, starring Peter Dinklage and Kelvin Harrison, Jr., the new Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Bradley Cooper, the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson and Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci with Lady Gaga and Adam Driver.
To give some perspective on the size of the deal, Disney bought both Marvel and Lucasfilm ($4.24B and $4.05B, respectively) for less than what Amazon paid for MGM.
Amazon Prime Video already has one of the largest catalogs of films but largely works more as online video store. With the news of AT&T selling off its WarnerMedia assets and streaming entities like HBO Max, Paramount+ and Disney+ cornering the market, this is Amazon biggest push into that territory.
Another key element in this purchase is the thousands of hours of television they’ll now own but also what they’ll inherit with the Epix network. Epix has a lucrative Pay-1 deal with companies like Paramount, which means they get exclusive rights to a Paramount movie after it hits theaters. While part of the deal has changed (Epix and ViacomCBS signed a new deal in February that will allow some Paramount films to hit Paramount+ for a period of time before heading to Epix) it means that Amazon would get access to films like Mission Impossible 7 and A Quiet Place II before anyone else.
The Wall Street Journal first reported news of the deal on Wednesday that includes taking on MGM’s current debts. Amazon reportedly started looking for a buyer in December 2020, as first reported by Variety. The deal has not yet closed, an Amazon spokesperson noted to NPR, and is subject to regulatory approvals.
Photo: Nicola Dove / MGM