Bond 25 questions: The Amazon edition

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A few days ago, Variety reported that Amazon was in talks to acquire Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, home studio of James Bond. Naturally, the blog has questions.

Is this serious?

Yes. Variety is a serious-minded outlet among the Hollywood trade publications. MGM also is a runt among the Hollywood studios and, in the long run, needs to be part of a bigger organization.

Is this a sure thing?

No. By Variety’s account, talks are still underway. Even if Amazon and MGM strike a deal, it will be subject to regulatory review. On occasion, acquisition agreements are reached but flak from regulators cause them to be undone.

What’s the broader context?

The movie and TV industry is facing a lot of changes because of the rise of streaming and the emergence of Netflix as a major player. MGM emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, owned mostly by hedge funds. Those hedge funds have held onto MGM for longer than such funds normally hold onto assets.

Put another way, MGM is a source of programming for a streaming service (and Amazon plays in that space in a big way). Acquiring MGM gives you access to a number of franchises and properties including Bond. Now might be a good time for MGM’s hedge fund owners to cash out.

Could this affect release plans for No Time to Die?

I suspect not. Even if a deal were announced an hour after this post were published, getting regulatory approval may take months. That’s usually the case with big acquisitions. As things stand now, No Time to Die is scheduled to come out on Sept. 30 in the U.K.

But, in the meantime, if you’re an Amazon Prime member in the U.S., you can watch Call Me Bwana (Eon’s second film, made between Dr. No and From Russia With Love) or Operation Kid Brother, Neil Connery’s spy film made, more or less, because he was Sean Connery’s brother.

One Response

  1. Very interesting.

    I really hope this deal goes through – and that Eon cashes in their chips as well.

    From the outside looking in, I get the sense that the Craig era incorporated everything they wanted to do and that the prospect of rebooting a second time may not be so interesting to them. Maybe I’m being presumptious but, almost by definition, follow-ups represent concepts that people weren’t excited enough to do the first time around.

    The price tag for such a sale would mean that any buyer would have to rely on multiple revenue streams just to turn a profit. A series on Prime based on the Young James Bond novels would be the most obvious option, particularly as Netflix have done so well with their Enola Holmes adaptation. Perhaps that would tie in to an M prequel that mixes naval operations with espionage, along the lines of the Dirk Pitt books. Considering there’s already a TV series revolving around Batman’s butler, anything is possible.

    Of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s a lot of administrative matters that they need to deal with first, if indeed it gets any further.

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