MGM is on sale! Get your piping hot MGM now!

MGM owns a library of 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours of TV programming, from Gone with the Wind and The Hobbit to TV hits such as The Handmaid’s Tale. It made $1.5bn in revenues last year. While the studio, which was forced into bankruptcy a decade ago after running up a $4bn (£2.5bn) in debt, has developed new franchises such as Rocky spin-off Creed, starring Michael B Jordan, its crown jewel remains the 58-year-old evergreen James Bond franchise.

Bond is the fifth-most valuable movie franchise of all-time, with its 24 films to date grossing more than $7bn, behind only the Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Spider-Man films. And with a loyal, global fanbase the films can be relied on to bring in about $1bn at the global box office. The next Bond film, No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007, has been moved twice with its premiere now scheduled for April in the hope that movie fans will be able to return to theatres en masse.

Can anyone fund my Kickstarter to acquire MGM? I’m pledging to cast Idris Elba as the best Bond.


This seem a bit incongruous. I know that inflation and all that changes things, but those numbers seem really unexpected. Both 7 billion being too low, and 1 billion per new one being too high (I’d have guessed in the 300-500 mil range)

I was a little surprised too and it does seem a little high, but going by Box Office Mojo it doesn’t seem too overstated. “Domestic” ie US gross has been around $200m to $400m recently and international about triple that.

I think part of the problem right now is that the Bond film they have is not going to make a billion with people staying away from theaters for the next few months and it won’t make a billion on streaming. They already tried to sell it to Netflix and Prime for $500-$600 million and they couldn’t get that.

The media content vault consolidation will continue…

Gotta collect them all.

Huh. I wonder, if the deal goes through, if that will affect the October 1 theatrical release of the oft-delayed James Bond flick. (The paywall stopped me from reading the whole article.) Amazon wouldn’t poach it for Amazon Prime Video, would they? Movie theater owners would commit suicide en masse.

It would be very surprising if the deal closed by then. These mergers can take years to complete, and it’s very rare they take less than the four months until early October.

It’ll be fascinating to see how they resolve the Bond situation. MGM only controls half of Bond. The other half are the Broccolis, and they do not want Bond spinoffs, or TV shows, or anything like that.

And the thing is, Bond is the crown jewel of MGM, and the reason it’s worth $9 billion.

It will be purchased with Junk Bonds?

Sorry to tread on the joke, but Amazon actually just raised $18.5bn in investment grade bonds.

I’m not so sure of that. I think Amazon also covets the more than 4,000 movies in MGM’s library just to add to their Prime streaming platform.

Not to diminish the value of the Bond franchise, but I’m sure Amazon is well aware of the Broccolis and their control.

And let’s be very clear. Should Amazon wish to buy the Broccolis out of their position, they absolutely would be able to. It’s just a matter of whether they consider that cost worth it. They could throw Jeff Bezos money at them, and they’d certainly say yes. It just probably isn’t worth doing that.

Bond feels like a dying franchise to me, at least relative to other franchises. It’s one bad casting choice away from losing relevance forever. I would never buy a studio based on its continued success, but then I’m not Jeff Bezos.

You’re right and wrong. The Bond franchise is stronger than it has ever been, but that’s probably significantly on the shoulders of Daniel Craig.

I mean, adjusted for 2005 dollars they went from making $250 million on License to Kill in 1989 to $1.1 billion on Skyfall in 2012. Even the follow-up, Spectre, which wasn’t very good, made $880 million.

So yeah, if they picked a Timothy Dalton-type actor next they’d probably go down a lot, but the franchise itself is very strong.

The difference* is back then there weren’t many long-running action franchises that made shit-tons of money. Now there are. Even throwaway crap like XXX managed to make hundreds of millions over a few films.

  • I mean, it’s not the only difference. They’ve run out of Fleming books too. Having recently watched Spectre, it does seem like they’re at risk of writing themselves into a hole. There’s only so many “spy on the run from his own boss/the establishment” stories you can do before it gets ridiculous.

John Gardner wrote a number of Bond books as well, some quite good.

The thing is that MGM’s back catalog, including the Bond films, the Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, etc. is a huge goldmine. However, I don’t know if Ted Turner still owns that (he did keep it when he sold MGM in '86, and used it to start TCM):