Amazon Buys Marilyn’s MGM for $8.45 Billion

Marilyn’s career at MGM was fairly brief: in 1948, she befriended the studio’s casting director Lucille Ryman and her actor husband, John Carroll, and signed a personal management contract with the well-connected couple. In early 1950, she won her breakthrough role in The Asphalt Jungle, and played a minor part in another MGM picture, Right Cross. Her little-known 1951 movie, Hometown Story, was also distributed by MGM. However, studio head Dore Schary did not see Marilyn’s potential, and passed on signing her to a permanent contract – a decision he would soon regret. Marilyn was snapped up by Twentieth Century Fox, and the rest is history.

MGM’s back catalogue was purchased by Ted Turner for TCM in 1986, and later acquired by WarnerMedia, who retain ownership of all MGM films made before that date, IndieWire reports. However, two outstanding movies from Marilyn’s later career (Some Like It Hot and The Misfits), were acquired by MGM when the studio merged with United Artists in 1982, adding to MGM’s small but valuable roster of Monroe classics. (Her only other UA title, 1949’s Love Happy, now languishes in home video purgatory.)

In recent years we’ve seen a massive restructuring of the original Hollywood titans: in 2018, Disney bought out Twentieth Century Fox, thus acquiring the majority of Marilyn’s film catalogue (see here.) And now, another movie colossus has fallen, The Verge reports – with MGM’s output since 1986, plus the older UA catalogue included in the deal. Unlike the MGM library, which still credits the original studio even under Warner’s ownership, Marilyn’s UA titles now feature Metro’s corporate logo. But will Leo the Lion still roar for Amazon?

“Amazon has reached a deal to acquire the film and TV company MGM for $8.45 billion, the companies announced today. It’s a significant acquisition for the e-commerce giant, and it means it will own a library of content that’s reported to consist of around 4,000 films and 17,000 hours of TV. The acquisition is likely to help Amazon attract even more big-spending Prime subscribers as its Prime Video service competes with the likes of Netflix and Disney Plus.

‘The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP [intellectual property] in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,’ Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement. ‘It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.’

Amazon’s media business has so far been a relatively small part of its overall empire, although it still spends billions on content each year. A substantial portion of Prime subscribers make use of the included free Prime Video streaming. Of the 200 million-plus people worldwide who are currently subscribed to Amazon Prime, over 175 million streamed video last year. Adding thousands more films and TV shows could be a boon for both figures.”