Amazon’s purchase of MGM comes as streaming services push to debut new movies alongside theaters
Amazon announced today that it will buy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the 97-year-old film and television studio, for $8.45 billion.
For Amazon Prime subscribers, it will mean a more robust collection of blockbusters and franchises to watch. MGM has more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows.
Amazon has yet to say how MGM’s deep catalog of award-winning films and TV shows will be incorporated into Prime’s already vast collection. Collectively, MGM has won more than 180 Academy Awards and 100 Emmys.
But the purchase of MGM raises new questions about whether Amazon will follow a new, growing trend among movie studios.
Will MGM begin premiering its new films on Amazon Prime and in theaters on the same day? Or, could Prime members have the shortest wait between when a new, hit movie hits theaters and when it’s available to stream?
That’s certainly a trend that has gotten traction with streaming services trailing far behind Amazon Prime’s reach.
ViacomCBS announced in March that two of its upcoming blockbusters, Mission Impossible 7 and A Quiet Place 2 will premiere on Paramount+ after a 45-day theatrical release.
Paramount+ plans to have a 30-day window for most new movies after they debut in theaters.
Warner Bros. has been releasing its newest films simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters. The Matrix 4 is expected to debut later this year.
Universal Studios plans to release The Boss Baby: Family Business on Peacock on July 2, the same day it hits theaters.
If Amazon wanted to experiment with using new movies to grow its Prime membership, MGM could certainly add to the e-commerce giant’s artillery.
Amazon noted in Wednesday’s announcement that, “MGM has one of the industry’s most exciting upcoming film slates, including House of Gucci, No Time to Die, Respect, The Addams Family 2, and the untitled Paul Thomas Anderson film.”
No Time to Die, the latest James Bond film, is scheduled to debut in theaters on Oct. 8 after being delayed due to the pandemic.
Only time will tell whether 007 arrives on Prime in 2021. But the trend of driving subscriptions to streaming services at the expense of movie theater profits is hard to ignore.
About 200 million people pay $119 per year, or $13 per month, for Prime memberships.
MGM’s vast roster of films include 12 Angry Men, Basic Instinct, Creed, James Bond, Legally Blonde, Moonstruck, Poltergeist, Raging Bull, Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs, Stargate, Thelma & Louise, Tomb Raider, The Magnificent Seven, The Pink Panther, and The Thomas Crown Affair.
MGM also has TV shows that are already popular on other streaming services such as Hulu, including Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Mike Hopkins, Senior Vice President of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement that the real value behind the purchase was the “deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team. It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”
Amazon Studios has primarily focused on producing TV show programming. Its roster of hit shows includes Bosch, which is about to enter its seventh and final season in June. Fleabag, with only two seasons under its belt, has won both Emmy and Gold Globe Awards.
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Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble
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