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Amazon and MGM Step Up IP Development

MGM Studios and Amazon logos

The Take

  • Amazon closed the deal to acquire MGM in March 2022. MGM’s long catalog of film and TV hits was the main driver of the acquisition.
  • MGM produced classic movies like Robocop, Legally Blonde, Fame, Barbershop, and The Thomas Crowne Affair—all of which could be remade or adapted at Amazon.
  • MGM is a 100-year-old studio with a long history and holds unproduced works by Woody Allen, Samuel Beckett, and Stanley Kubrick, among others.
  • However, there are underlying rights issues for properties like Rocky and James Bond, which different companies and producers also hold.

Amazon Studios is looking to its recent acquisition of the famed and storied Hollywood studio MGM to kickstart new IP-based projects. According to Deadline, the company is looking at a dozen titles to start, including Robocop, Legally Blonde, Fame, Barbershop, and The Thomas Crowne Affair—all of which could be remade or adapted at Amazon.

The move follows recent reports from two other studios, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, which are developing internal IP as new projects. Disney has announced a live-action remake of the hit animated movie Moana. At the same time, Warner Bros. Discovery partnered with J.K. Rowling to bring Harry Potter to screens again, this time as a television series.

There is no word yet on whether projects will be heading for film or TV and if any will have a theatrical release. Amazon Studios is experimenting with theatrical releases but still focuses on bringing viewers to its streaming service.

Amazon Studios is talking with Michael B. Jordan about a Creed universe spanning film and TV. The studio has also signed a deal with Sylvester Stallone, which allows them to expand the Rocky brand.

One piece of IP that is reportedly off the table is James Bond. Eon Productions, run by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, control the rights for the James Bond franchise and have already said they want to focus on the scripted film series.

The MGM deal also offers more content for Amazon Prime subscribers.

Bringing in IP from MGM

Identifying and developing IP is a daunting task for any studio, especially for MGM, which has had multiple owners and partners over its 100-year history. That means there could be numerous rights holders for a single project.

One interesting part of this deal includes the unproduced projects of writers, including Woody Allen, Samuel Beckett, and Stanley Kubrick. These projects could come to life again with new writers, producers, and directors attached.

This IP development plan has been in the works since Amazon closed the deal with MGM. “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP 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 back in May 2021.

Nowadays, Amazon Studios’ leadership has complete control over MGM and can use it to build its streaming service offerings and compete in the streaming marketplace.

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