back to article Amazon puts an $8.5bn MGM in its shopping cart, clicks on checkout

The streaming wars have gone up a notch after Amazon confirmed its intent to acquire veteran filmmaker MGM for $8.45bn. MGM (or Metro Goldwyn Mayer) has logged nearly a century in the moving pictures business in its various guises and has an impressive catalog of films, including Robocop, Rocky, Silence of the Lambs and the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Amazon puts an $8.5bn MGM in its shopping cart, clicks on checkout" What, not "Buy now with 1 click"?

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Because if anyone knows the pitfalls of having "buy now with one click" enabled it is Amazon

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Facepalm

      They wanted to select the cheaper delivery option, but inadvertently signed up for a 'trial' of Prime

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >That means he also co-owns the Pink Panther!

      A Bond, Trump, Sellers cross-over series using deepfakes.

    2. Chz

      The rights to nearly everything from before 1986 was sold to Ted Turner. Unless you're referencing the rebooted Pink Panther films.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Red Ted Silver badge
    Go

    Bond villains

    Whilst I could see Bezos and Musk as bond villains delivering the “No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.” line, the likes of Gates or Zuckerberg look more like the nerdy side kicks or the minor villain duped in to assisting Donald Pleasence in his nefarious plan.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bond villains

      Dear Mr Bezos,

      No doubt you will be looking for a replacement for Daniel Craig as Bond. We represent the interests of Mr Alistair Dabbs (photograph enclosed) who you will find to have the necessary attributes for the role.

      https://regmedia.co.uk/2013/06/28/bonds.jpg

      In the event of him being overlooked for the role, we would ask you to consider him for modelling roles in your online emporium.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Bond villains

      A Bezos cameo as Blofeld would be hilarious. I might even watch a new Bond film for that. (Don't think I've seen one since the Craig version of Casino Royale, and I've never seen some of the ones before that.)

  4. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Unhappy

    disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

    and I thought the quality of movies had ALREADY gone down the sewer. I used to purchase movies on DVD and go to the theater a LOT.

    I almost NEVER do that nowadays. Remakes are often LESS than disappointing, and with the exception of 'Deadpool', even the Marvel Studios movies have become a disappointment (to ME, anyway).

    I can't see a future of Hollywood movies (in general) getting _BETTER_ because Bezos owns the studio...

    (can someone show some proof to the contrary?)

    1. Chris G Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

      Have a beer to go with your next viewing of Deadpool Bob.

      The key word in the article regarding the MGM future is 'Reimagine', is there no original imagination left in Hollywood anymore?

      I am also getting bored with everything depending on evermore outrageous CGI in preference to good acting in well chosen locations too, although from what I have heard about GoT shows that it can be done.

      1. rcxb Silver badge

        Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

        I am also getting bored with everything depending on evermore outrageous CGI

        It was the improving technology of special effects which gave us the blockbuster (and predominantly sci-fi) film boom of the 80s & 90s.

        CGI has the potential to make it cheaper and easier to make better, more imaginative films. That reality hasn't worked out that ways is not the fault of the technology, but unrelated studio issues.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

          Yes. The unrelated studio issue being film bosses who assume that if a film did well ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago, it will do well if they make it again with even more explosions, plane crashes, chases, and CGI special effects.

          The depressing thing is, they're usually right. Often it does do well, even if, in the opinion of old farts like me who liked it the first time round, it's not as good as the original. Their target market didn't see it the first time... so why take a risk on something people might not want to see?

          That a successful film might be made for under a hundred million bucks? Nah, wrong Holywood, mate. Try the one down the road.

        2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

          The problem with CGI is it encourages laziness in producers and directors.

          When you look at all the model work companies like ILM did in the years before CGI became feasible, or the directing tricks Sam Raimi did in his early films, you can see how much time and effort they put into considering what visual effects they could reasonably achieve and how they could construct the story around them. That made for, if not great films, at least a lot of clever, imaginative, and enjoyable films.

          These days, precisely because CGI is limited only by the director's imagination and budget, it's often thrown in without much thought, much less artistry.

          It's the usual ergodic-path effect, which is essentially the virtuous twin of the sunk-cost fallacy: When something is relatively difficult, often it attracts people who will over-invest in doing it well. When it's relatively easy, it attracts dilettantes and posers, and half-assery rules the field.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

      "getting _BETTER_ because Bezos owns the studio..."

      On the other hand, given some of the dismal crap I've seen recently (in which Deadpool was a shining exception, thumb up), I do have to ask if it's possible for a Bezos studio to manage to do worse...or have we finally reached that sweet spot of peak mediocrity?

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

        sweet spot of peak mediocrity

        Surely mediocrity doesn't have anything as interesting as a peak, it just has a long, dreary plateau?

    3. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

      > I can't see a future of Hollywood movies (in general) getting _BETTER_ because Bezos owns the studio...

      I suggest that it's all about the back catalogue and using that to entice people into subscribing to Amazon Prime.

      Current film production will probably be left to its own devices i.e. continue with cinema releases (but what would have a been a straight-to-video turkey might now be a "straight to Prime turkey").

    4. ST Silver badge

      Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

      > [ ... ] Hollywood movies (in general) getting _BETTER_ because Bezos [ ... ]

      Sadly, Amazon's original productions haven't impressed me much, so far. Even the new Borat I thought was kinda lame.

      Maybe that's why Bezos is buying MGM. It's not just the franchise and the portfolio, he's also buying quite a bit of know-how.

      There's something off about MGM being part of Amazon, though. At least to me.

      Good (recent-ish) movie I'd recommend: The Gentlemen. Guy Ritchie film + Matthew McConaughey, Michelle Dockery, Charlie Hunnam, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant. I found it fun enough that I bought the digital version.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

        You can't buy know-how, because the know-how is tied up in the people and they don't have to work for you. In most industries, Hollywood very certainly among them, groups of senior people move around together, form their own companies, and generally work for whomever seems convenient at the moment. Buying a corporation doesn't get you any of that. Which is why the difference between what you pay for a corporation and the fair market value of its tangible assets is called "goodwill" in the accounting practice; it's an intangible asset that more often than not gets written down to zero because it doesn't represent anything that actually helps you make a profit. It's important to recognise that it isn't merely intangible, like trademarks; it's separate even from that class of assets. It's literally nothing. They just needed a name for it because books have to balance. "Idiot premium" would have been more honest.

        The portfolio they're getting is worth what it's worth; it'll bring in some revenue for sure. There are usually some land parcels and buildings and miscellaneous assets in these deals that are worth something but rarely more than a few percent of the price. The rest goes into the pockets of the current owners, who laugh all the way to the bank, and onto Amazon's books as goodwill where it'll sit for a few years until a new CEO will unload it to private equity at an 80% loss as part of a purge-past-mistakes effort. Film studios have almost no intrinsic value and these deals never work out for the buyers.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: disappointing quality of movies out of Hollywood

        @ST Ironically a quick search of what is on Amazon Prime shows "The Gentlemen" is already available on Amazon for prime viewers

  5. Youngone Silver badge

    New show ideas

    ...so does that mean Bezos gets the ex-president's outtakes tapes...

    I had not thought of that. The results could be hilarious.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: New show ideas

      I don't know. Outtakes would likely just be Trump bumbling, not particularly funny in itself (it's not like he ever displays any grace to contrast with it). People who dislike Trump don't have much incentive to watch, and Trump trufans will just shout "deepfake!" and polish their conspiracy theories.

      Polishing a turd is difficult, but besmirching one is even harder.

  6. heyrick Silver badge

    Just a shame

    That they don't invest a millionth of that money in making their Prime Video app something other than a painful user unfriendly heap of shit.

    There's no "coming soon", the "recently added" recycles the same few things endlessly, the search is dire and when an exact match doesn't exist it makes suggestions that are basically genre roulette and have nothing to do with what you were looking for...

    ...and a personal whinge since I'm in France is that so much stuff is in French. I know that sounds odd but there are loads of movies obviously of English language origin (usually American) where the only audio is a dub of questionable quality. Plus it's damned near impossible to browse anything much in Amazon's playlist. It's almost as if they don't really want you watching anything.

    All these reasons and more are why I watch Netflix more these days. Amazon might be world class at selling stuff, but when it comes to a good user friendly video service, Prime Video is practically a masterclass in how to screw up.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Just a shame

      > the search is dire and when an exact match doesn't exist it makes suggestions that are basically genre roulette and have nothing to do with what you were looking for...

      So, it's like their website actually...

      1. heyrick Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Just a shame

        We see you have been looking at WiFi extenders and think that you would like a new waffle iron...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    new law of economics

    Every bubble expands until the froth's beneficiaries convince themselves to spend absurd sums on a Hollywood film studio.

    1980s: Japanese real estate bubble (Sony buys Columbia Pictures, September '89)

    1990s-2001: Dotcom bubble (AOL buys Time Warner, January '00)

    2010s-2021: Retailers and telephone directory companies calling themselves "tech" (Amazon buys MGM Studios, May '21)

    Those previous purchases (there were others; those I've listed were representative for brevity) didn't hold up well, and the bubbles they represented popped almost immediately thereafter. It just may be a law of economics that the height of a bubble is marked by the purchase of unprofitable vanity media businesses by the very people who ought to know better: those whose own assets comprise the bubble. See also, owners of profitable businesses buying professional sporting clubs.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Interesting point.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Re: new law of economics

      Sony and Columbia was more to protect their technology.

      Helped to kill HD-DVD.

      Also helped that no 1 best selling Blu Ray player could play ripped HD-DVDs from its HDD.

  8. ecofeco Silver badge

    Well that's the question

    The question being why can't Amazon pay their employees better?

    Won't some one please think of the struggling movies?!

  9. Tromos
    Joke

    Was there also the usual suggestion...

    ...people who bought MGM also purchased (list)

  10. skeptical i

    Rosebud?

    "I think it would be fun to run a [movie studio]."

    "[A]t the rate of [losing] a million dollars a year I'll have to close this place in ... sixty years."

    As noted above, the _Apprentice_ outtakes (and whatever else remains from that show -- costumes, set pieces/props) could be interesting.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Rosebud?

      Obviously, the best way to make a small fortune in the movie business is to start with a large one...

  11. Oh Matron!

    SportsDirect.....

    Am I the only one that thinks the Amazon Movies and TV app looks a bit Mike Ashley? The UI just looks, well, nasty, especially compared to the very spartan AppleTV+, Disney + and Netflix. Perhaps a lick of paint wouldn't go amiss?

  12. ThatOne Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Bright future

    > the thought of yet more "reimagining" from the studios may leave one vaguely queasy

    "Queasy" is an euphemism.

    On the other hand it means that all those movies (well, at least the more interesting ones) will become "Prime exclusives". Want to watch xyz? Easy as subscribing to our service! Welcome to the era of the greedily competing streaming services. My generation might have been the last able to buy and own hundreds of movies nobody can take away from me (well at least not easily).

    In the beginning you had to go to the movies to watch a film, there was no other way. Then home media appeared, on tape, then disc. Now home media are disappearing again. I'm clearly old-fashioned, but for me it's like making owning books illegal, and you have to go to a library to read them. Well, yes, books... Yes, I already said I'm old-fashioned.

  13. arachnoid2 Bronze badge

    A Bond vacancy eh.......

    Maybe we could have the born again evangelist Top stories Dominic Cummings as he appears to be on a crusade against Government super villains right now.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: A Bond vacancy eh.......

      My thoughts are known.

      The chief Mekon is the Bond Villain, but a poundshop one.

      James (Dabbs) Bond in the 2015 Focus (look at that grill AM rippoff!) going to the secret lair at Barnards Castle.

      Hmm.

      1. arachnoid2 Bronze badge

        Re: A Bond vacancy eh.......

        Back to the Roger Moore days of cheapskate James Bonds then

  14. Daedalus Silver badge

    Here we go again

    Sony !!

    Gulf + Western!! etc. etc.

    Many companies have bought into movies and bought out again. Disney has become the giant that it is because it already knows the pitfalls of the business, having nearly fallen into one of them itself. Every now and again big money comes along drops its pile of chips onto the table, only to see them disappear. Amazon will fare no better.

  15. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Time to buy shares...

    ...in popcorn manufacturers.

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