The roar of the lion
A vast catalogue of - often legendary - films
The bankruptcy of a giant
The pandemic exacerbated the MGM crisis
007 is keeping us waiting
Jeff Bezos embarks on classic cinema
Apple and Netflix also wanted MGM
The battle for content
Concentration of powers
A point for Amazon vs Netflix
A multi-million dollar operation
4,000 films (but not all MGM classics)
The origins of MGM
More stars than in the sky
Decline in artistic and commercial performances
House of Gucci, a new project
The Amazon buyout of Metro Goldwyn Mayer: a big move in the streaming industry
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The roar of the lion

Amazon is buying Metro Goldwyn Mayer, the iconic lion's iconic film company. Jeff Bezos' online market empire will pay $ 8.4 billion to add the historic MGM to its portfolio.

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A vast catalogue of - often legendary - films

MGM has been the big blockbuster factory since the 1920s. Its catalogue includes movies from 'Gone with the Wind' to 'Thelma and Louise' (photo), 'Terminator', 'Rocky', and the James Bond films.

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The bankruptcy of a giant

Metro had been looking for a good buyer for some time due to financial problems. In 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy because of the many debts it had accumulated. At that point, speculative investors joined its shareholding. The Anchorage Capital fund is the majority owner of the company.

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The pandemic exacerbated the MGM crisis

MGM was already going through an exhausting crisis before the pandemic started. The economic model in the audiovisual sector was rapidly changing thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. On top of that, the coronavirus shut cinemas and put filming to a near-standstill.

(Image: Edwin Hooper / Unsplash)

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007 is keeping us waiting

An example is the James Bond movie 'No Time to Die', an important title with which MGM had hoped to reach great success at the box office. With restrictions on cinemas in many countries and an audience still scarred by the pandemic, it's hard to imagine that this James Bond film could achieve results as spectacular as the previous ones.

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Jeff Bezos embarks on classic cinema

With the purchase of MGM, Amazon gets a huge catalogue of classic movies to increase its  collection. All the filmography amassed by Metro is enough to fuel several streaming channels.

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Apple and Netflix also wanted MGM

The business press had mentioned other possible buyers for MGM. Disney seemed very well placed, but Apple and Netflix had also been cited as possible buyers of the iconic brand.

(Image: Thibault Penin / Unsplash)

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The battle for content

The purchase of MGM comes at a time when streaming has positioned itself as a central entertainment industry. The production of series, films and documentaries is massive. It's comparable to the time when the big Hollywood studios exported films all over the world at the rate of several dozen per month.

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Concentration of powers

The sector currently subject to buyouts and concentrations: Fox has already been bought by Disney, Universal by Comcast, and Warner Bros by AT&T.

(Image: Christian Chen / Unsplash)

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A point for Amazon vs Netflix

Netflix is the king of streaming. However, according to some reports, Amazon Prime is right behind it. In April 2021, Amazon had an estimated 200 million subscriptions, which comes close to Netflix's 208 million. The purchase of MGM can attract a new audience to Amazon - that of people looking for cinematic treasures.

Image: Compare Fiber / Unsplash

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A multi-million dollar operation

The purchase of Metro Goldwyn Mayer is the second most expensive transaction ever by Amazon. Bezos' company only spent more dollars on the purchase of the Whole Foods supermarket chain, in which it invested $ 13.7 billion.

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4,000 films (but not all MGM classics)

With this purchase, Amazon has approximately 4,000 films at its disposal, the New York Times estimates. An extensive catalogue of classics and commercial films of all time. But, note, part of the Metro catalogue had already been sold to someone else before Jeff Bezos. Titles such as 'Singin in the Rain', 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Gone With The Wind' were sold to Ted Turner to start up his TCM channel.

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The origins of MGM

Louis B. Mayer (photo) founded the company in 1918, when the movie industry was just a dream in the making. He built an empire that seemed indestructible, but as it turns out, even the biggest empires can start crumbling.

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More stars than in the sky

The motto of MGM was to have 'more stars than the sky'. The company signed exclusive contracts with stars like Clark Gable, Greta Garbo (pictured), Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Kelly, James Stewart, Jean Harlow, and more.

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Decline in artistic and commercial performances

The past few years have not been particularly good for MGM. It has brought out a number of titles with neither been box office successes nor impressive artistic results. The new productions of MGM include 'Gretel & Hansel' (photo), 'Respect,' 'Creed II' and the new version of 'Tomb Raider.'

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House of Gucci, a new project

For now, MGM 'House of Gucci' in the making, a film starring Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. The project has caused unrest in the Gucci family and is a gamble that goes beyond the recycling of old concepts or other commercial and risk-free movies.

Whatever's in store for 'House of Gucci,' the old MGM is now relatively safe, though at the cost of being absorbed by a giant in the new digital economy.

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