The 007 franchise is the crown jewel amongst the more than 4,000 movies and 17,000 TV shows that Amazon is adding to its Prime Video catalog, such as Silence of the Lambs, Rocky, and The Hobbit franchise. (As Indiewire points out, classic MGM titles like The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind are not part of today’s transaction, as they were sold to Turner in the mid-1980s.)
Amazon will, however, have say over upcoming MGM productions coming to theaters, including the next Bond flick No Time to Die, the Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver, and Paul Thomas Anderson’s next film.
Going forward, Amazon intends to leverage these MGM properties into new originals. “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” said Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, in a statement. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”
As Variety points out, Hopkins specifically name-checked films like Basic Instinct, Legally Blonde, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, and The Magnificent Seven as examples. He also referenced TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale and Fargo.
There are many questions still to be answered, however. It’s unclear how Amazon will treat theatrical releases for future MGM films, or whether the streamer will allow an MGM-produced series like The Handmaid’s Tale to remain licensed to Hulu.
The MGM deal is Amazon’s second-largest acquisition, behind its 2017 purchase of grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. As competition intensifies with newer streaming services like HBO Max and Disney+, the move will aid Amazon in its attempt to retain Prime subscribers.