Amazon has bought the esteemed, historic film studio MGM in a deal that costs them $8.45 billion. What is it getting for its money?
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the American film studio that has been in existence since 1924, has been bought by Amazon for $8.45 billion in an agreement that’s bound to add even more fuel to the fire of the streaming war.
MGM is most notably the home of the James Bond film series and many other classic films including Raging Bull, The Silence of the Lambs, Rocky, Robocop, and more; but it also is the parent company behind TV series including Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Vikings. That means that a wealth of content (namely 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows) has been purchased for the Amazon Prime Video streaming service at a stroke.
Kevin Ulrich, the chairman of MGM, said: “I am very proud that MGM’s Lion, which has long evoked the Golden Age of Hollywood, will continue its storied history, and the idea born from the creation of United Artists lives on in a way the founders originally intended, driven by the talent and their vision. The opportunity to align MGM’s storied history with Amazon is an inspiring combination”.
The purchase has stimulated debate on several different fronts. Many customers and pundits are concerned that the line between between studios and distributors has been all but erased at this point, giving the studios far more power than they previously held and making competition harder than ever. A harsher criticism would be that Amazon, along with other large companies, are forming near-monopolies in their respective industries that simply cannot be challenged, and need to be broken up for the sake of a healthier market.
On a more superficial basis, fans are also eagerly (and at time worriedly) discussing the possible ramifications of the purchase for the films or TV series that they love. Could we see a spin-off James Bond series, for instance, now that Amazon had the rights? Never say never (again).