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Amazon to acquire MGM Studios for $8.45B

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The tech giant will take control of the studio’s library and future films and franchises

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale Photo: Sony Pictures

Amazon, the online retailer/streaming company/tech mega-corporation, will acquire the Metro Goldwyn Mayer movie studio in a deal estimated to be worth $8.45 billion. The deal was officially announced, after a week of rumors, on Wednesday.

The acquisition, Amazon said in a news release, will “empower MGM to continue to do what they do best: great storytelling.”

As part of the deal, Amazon will take full control of MGM and its assets. This includes the company’s library of more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows. The catalog includes films released after 1986; earlier library titles are controlled by Turner Entertainment Company — a division of WarnerMedia, which is itself going through the early stages of an acquisition by Discovery Inc. It’s likely that many of MGM’s library titles could be added to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service.

“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.”

Along with the library, Amazon will also get the rights to the company’s current slate of yet-to-be-released films including (depending on when the deal is finalized): Candyman, Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Soggy Bottom, and perhaps most notably the upcoming, long-delayed James Bond movie No Time to Die.

Amazon will also gain access to MGM’s catalog of franchises and ongoing series to develop as its own IP as well. These include series like Rocky, Legally Blonde, The Pink Panther, Poltergeist, and even the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter — though the company doesn’t own other pieces of that universe like Clarice Starling.

Of course this also includes the James Bond series and its characters, though it’s unclear how much control the tech company would have over the franchise. MGM only holds 50% of the rights to Bond. The other 50% is controlled by the Broccoli family, who have to sign off on new projects in the franchise and creative decisions. Thanks to all these complications, it’s not really clear if Amazon could release a James Bond spinoff TV show, and it certainly couldn’t happen without the company jumping through a few hoops first.