Amazon is looking to expand its capitalist girth by acquiring MGM’s library of film and TV titles. As Republican governors across the U.S. have begun opting out of federal unemployment aid in an effort to force people to accept low-paying jobs, Variety reports that Amazon is looking to spend $9 billion to purchase MGM. That may seem like an absurd amount of money to us poor folk, but Amazon recently spent $11 billion on film, TV, and music for its Prime platforms in 2020, so $9 billion is chump change, really. It’s enough to buy over 4,000 movies and 17,000 episodes of television, but it’s not really enough to increase wages for underpaid, overworked employees in Amazon warehouses or the bottles they have to pee in, now is it?
Should Amazon’s latest deal go through, the company will acquire an impressive catalog that includes the James Bond movies, RoboCop, Rocky and Creed, and The Hobbit franchises, along with The Silence Of The Lambs and The Magnificent Seven. MGM’s television library includes classics like In The Heat Of The Night and the Stargate franchise, reality hits Survivor and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills, and more recent favorites such as Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale. While the deal would clearly be beneficial for Amazon Prime, which already has a massive streaming library (padded by thousands of obscure/extremely low-budget titles), it raises questions about the future of MGM on home video. The studio has one of the largest collections of film and TV on Blu-ray, featuring numerous older titles and remasters of classics. It seems unlikely that Amazon would continue production of new Blu-rays, and more likely that they’d sell off any existing stock they acquire.
Update [5/26/2021]: Amazon now owns MGM Studios, for the price of $8.45 billion. It’s a big move for the company that seems to own everything now, and the second largest price they’ve paid for an acquisition behind Whole Foods. The studios extensive catalog will be used to bolster Amazon Prime Video, and bring the talents of the historic film maker to Amazon Studios.
“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of [intellectual property] in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Mike Hopkins, senior VP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in announcing the deal. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”