Hollywood is set for two massive mergers this year. In the next six weeks or so, Discovery would have completed its purchase of Warner Bros. The other was completed today (Thursday 17th March), on St Patrick’s day, as the iconic MGM Studios is officially joined Amazon.
The deal will cost the company $8.5 billion, having been approved by the European Commission this week and the US Federal Trade Commission.
It’s a massive move for MGM and has finally put their financial issues to bed, as it’s well-known, even when I was a kid, how badly the studio needed money to stay afloat and likely they had James Bond to come to the rescue.
In a statement, Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said, “MGM has a nearly century-long legacy of producing exceptional entertainment, and we share their commitment to delivering a broad slate of original films and television shows to a global audience.
“We welcome MGM employees, creators, and talent to Prime Video and Amazon Studios, and we look forward to working together to create even more opportunities to deliver quality storytelling to our customers”, Hopkins added.
According to Variety, the leadership structure has yet to be disclosed, but signs are pointing to Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke will become chief of the combined studio. It’s also unclear if MGM execs like chief Michael De Luca and Mark Burnett, television group head, will stay on after the merger.
“We are excited for MGM and its bounty of iconic brands, legendary films and television series, and our incredible team and creative partners to join the Prime Video family,” said Chris Brearton, chief operating officer of MGM. “MGM has been responsible for the creation of some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed films and television series of the past century. We look forward to continuing that tradition as we head into this next chapter, coming together with the great team at Prime Video and Amazon Studios to provide audiences with the very best in entertainment for years to come.”
So what is next? I can’t see Amazon making any major announcements just yet. They’ll likely want to get as much of the 4,000 MGM movies and 17,000 TV shows onto Prime Video first.
However, once this was done and if I had a say, I’d be looking to bring in creatives to give new takes for properties like The Pink Panther, RoboCop, The Thomas Crown Affair, and The Magnificent Seven.
The Pink Panther would be ideal as both an animated series and a Prime Video live-action movie, and see if we can bring Lee Evans out of retirement to play Inspector Clouseau.
RoboCop and The Magnificent Seven are ideal for series adaptations, whilst I think its time for a new adaptation of The Thomas Crown Affair, which would be a role suited for someone like Michael B. Jordan.
Even before the merger, MGM had that same idea with Deadline revealing in July 2021 Wes Tooke to write and be produced under Jordan’s Outlier Society banner and Joe and Anthony Russo’s AGBO production company.
Obviously, the golden goose of the studio will be James Bond as Amazon has already promised to keep the franchise on the big screen. It would also make business sense as that’s where they will be able to recoup their money through the box office.
Do I think Hopkins and Salke will get any headway with Barbara Broccoli? No. They have a say in making sure it stays on budget as possible, but Bond is Broccoli’s business, so it’ll stay with Eon Productions when it comes to casting.
However, with Craig’s era truly coming to an end at the Oscars, the series celebrating 60 years this year and now knowing where the money is coming from, I can see Bond 26 getting more into gear and a new Bond being announced in the summer.