Amazon struck and bought the Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), which had been stumbling for years. The media giant and streaming provider Prime Video put in a whopping 8.45 billion dollars for the traditional film studio. This means that the rights to around 4,000 films and 17,000 series, including the popular James Bond series with the latest film No Time to Die, will be in the hands of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.
MGM history with ups and downs
The studio with the well-known roaring lion head in the logo had a turbulent time in recent years. Founded in 1924, MGM is one of the great film studios of Hollywood’s golden era, known for numerous film classics such as “Ben Hur”, “Doctor Zhivago”, “Knight of the Round Table”, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, “The Wizard of Oz”, the “Lassie” films, “The Time Machine”, the Alfred Hitchcock films such as “The Invisible Third”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “RoboCop”, “Westworld”, “Stargate”, the “Rocky” series, “The Pink Panther” and a few more.
The series includes classics such as “Flipper” (1964–68), “Solo for ONCEL” (1964–68), “Tom and Jerry” (1965–72), “Daktari” (1966–69), “Shaft” ( 1973-74) and “Twilight Zone” (1985-89). Recent productions include “Fargo” (2014–), “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Vikings including the upcoming Netflix series Vikings: Valhalla.
Bankruptcy and the future of the Bond range
At the beginning of the 2000s, the traditional company got into serious financial difficulties and was up for sale for the first time. Competitor Sony got into MGM in 2005 and took over the rights to the Bond film series. But the high debt ensured that the studio should be broken up and others like Warner Bros. showed their interest. Finally, MGM took part in the filming of the “Lord of the Rings” prequel trilogy ” The Hobbit “, which was postponed several times due to financial problems.
MGM filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and received another new partner with Spyglass. The huge hit “The Hobbit” trilogy and “James Bond: Skyfall” put a lot of money into MGM’s box office. Finally, the studio was able to reduce the high debt through strict austerity measures. In 2013, MGM even bought back the rights to its productions with funds from Lionsgate and Paramount.
Amazon as a savior in the corona crisis
The corona pandemic with closed cinemas and postponed productions probably demanded its price, also at MGM. Now the entire studio with all rights is in the possession of Amazon, which can enable the distribution of films and series with its streaming provider Prime Video. The purchase will be completed at the end of 2021. Then one of the biggest Hollywood studio sales after 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm goes through Disney.
Anyone who should now fear that they will no longer be able to see Bond films in the cinema, for example, should relax. The two long-time producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Winslow of the cult series promised the fans:
“We are committed to continuing to make the James Bond films for global cinema audiences.”
A cinema release is planned for this autumn, should the movie theaters then be allowed to reopen. In the future, however, Amazon is likely to have a great deal of interest in offering the cult series on Prime Video as soon as possible after its cinema release. After all, Bond films are promising titles in the battle for the customers of streaming services like Netflix and Disney. So far, the Bond films are nowhere to be found here.