Amazon’s purchase of Metro Goldwyn Mayer has been one of the most spectacular streaming platforms in recent times, comparable only perhaps to Disney’s purchase of Fox. In this case the implications are even more symbolic, due to the clash between a completely technological and digital company and a historical production company of classic Hollywood.
The purchase, however, leaves us a few questions and doubts about how this purchase will work on a practical level. There are seven questions, not all of them with answers at the moment, that we ask ourselves now that MGM is part of Amazon.
How big is the MGM catalog?
Much. According to the Los Angeles Times, in 1997 it accounted for more than half of the movies produced by major studios in Hollywood since 1948.
-Why can’t we see ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Gone with the Wind’ and other pre-1986 classics?
Because they don’t currently belong to MGM. In 1986, mogul Ted Turner struck a series of deals that led his company Turner Broadcasting to buy all of the company’s films prior to that date, thus building the impressive Turner Classic Movies catalog. Today, those movies are owned by WarnerMedia, and in fact, in America, movies like these can be seen on HBO Max.
-So the deal does not include films prior to that date?
Yes: Kirk Kerkorian, the last owner of MGM, bought and sold the studio properties three times in 35 years. That included the 1981 acquisition of United Artists, a property that was not part of Turner’s deal. That’s where Amazon’s pre-1986 movies and the coveted James Bond saga come from. Other catalogs that have been adding to the MGM catalog thanks to the Kerkorian transactions are Orion Pictures or Polygram.
-Who has the rights to the films right now in Spain?
Your movie. Have a channel dedicated to the production company full of remastered classics And from what one of the platform’s founders, Jaume Ripoll, says on Twitter, they will continue to maintain the rights for the time being.
The lion sleeps at home. https://t.co/NEPk0IKrnA pic.twitter.com/9sNxtEkOvv
– Jaume Ripoll Vaquer (@JaumeRV) May 26, 2021
-What about Epix, MGM’s streaming platform?
It is not known. Nor is it known if MGM series that are currently in the hands of Amazon Prime Video’s competition (‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ on Hulu -and in Spain on HBO-, ‘Vikings’ on Netflix, etc.) will continue there or, in the style of what Disney has been doing with Marvel movies scattered on other platforms, they will return as the exploitation rights expire.
-Why did it cost so much money?
There is no clear answer, especially considering that just a decade ago the company’s finances were disastrous. But CEO Gary Barber has revalued the company’s value in recent years, with productions such as ‘Skyfall’, the highest grossing Bond film in history, or the production of series such as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. Without a doubt, it is the 007 franchise that supports a good part of the value that Bezos has paid.
-Will the price of Amazon Prime go up in the future due to this acquisition?
Obviously, we cannot know it, but it is possible to think that not. Keep in mind that Amazon Prime Video is an extra that is included in the price of Prime, which is the real Amazon business. The pandemic has done well for Amazon’s finances, and Bezos has possibly calculated that this morass of additional content for Prime Video will eventually pay off as a bonus for Prime customers. The extreme competitiveness that exists right now between the platforms of streamingFurthermore, it forces them to make an extra effort in this regard.
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Seven doubts left by Amazon’s purchase of Metro Goldwyn Mayer