Amazon MGM Studios
FormerlyAmazon Studios (2010–2023)
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryEntertainment
Predecessors
FoundedNovember 16, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-11-16) (as Amazon Studios)
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Jennifer Salke (CEO)
Products
  • Television production
  • Television distribution
  • Film production
  • Film distribution
ParentAmazon
Divisions
  • Prime Movies
  • Amazon MGM Studios Distribution
Subsidiaries
Websiteamazonstudios.com
Footnotes / references
[1][2]

Amazon MGM Studios, formerly Amazon Studios in some markets,[3] is an American film and television production and distribution studio owned by Amazon and launched on November 16, 2010. It took its current name on October 3, 2023, following its merger with MGM Holdings, which Amazon had acquired the year prior.[4]

Productions from this studio, as of September 2023, are primarily distributed under the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer banner through movie theaters and Amazon's own streaming media service, Amazon Prime Video.[5]

Overview

Formation and early success (2008–2021)

Scripts for television and films used to be submitted online to Amazon[6] and read by staff; however, the website states they no longer accept submissions. Amazon aimed to review submitted scripts within 90 days (although the process may be longer). If a project was chosen for development, the writer was paid $10,000.[7] If a developed script was selected for distribution as a full-budget movie, the creator was paid $200,000; if it was selected for distribution as a full-budget series, the creator was paid $55,000 as well as "up to 5 percent of Amazon's net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses."[8]

Logo of Amazon Studios, used from 2010 to 2019

In 2008, Amazon expanded into film production, producing the film The Stolen Child with 20th Century Studios.[9] In July 2015, Amazon announced it had acquired Spike Lee's new film, Chi-Raq, as its first Amazon Original Movie.[10][11][12]

In 2010 Amazon Studios started allowing people to submit screenplays, which Amazon Studios and its customers would vote on. The top scriptwriters were told that they would earn cash prizes. This was named as "the scientific studio" by Jeff Bezos. This program stopped eight years later as submitted scripts were of low quality.[13]

Amazon Studios also released its only comic-book series, Blackburn Burrow, in 2012 as a free download.[14] It contained a survey allowing Amazon to collect feedback to determine whether or not it was worthwhile to make the comic into a film.[14]

Amazon Studios had received more than 10,000 feature screenplay submissions as of September 2012[14] and 2,700 television pilots as of March 2013;[15] 23 films and 26 television series were in active development as of March 2013.[14][7] In late 2016, it reorganized its film division into Prime Movies.[16]

Logo of Amazon Studios, used from 2019 to 2023

On July 27, 2017, it was announced that, starting with the December 2017 release Wonder Wheel, Amazon Studios would be its own self-distributing company. Previously, Amazon Studios had relied on multiple external studios to distribute their projects.[17] The company also acquired global TV rights to The Lord of the Rings for $250 million.[18] However, Amazon still has external distribution clients outside of the United States, such as Elevation Pictures in Canada, as well as Warner Bros. and StudioCanal in the United Kingdom and France.

In April 2018, Amazon Studios announced that they would no longer accept open submissions of screenplays to limit the filmmakers they work with to those whom the studio has established working relationships with and turn away up-and-comers from pitching their projects, deeming them as "unsolicited material" and "not notable and talented enough to work with them."[19]

Acquisition of MGM and rebranding (2021–present)

In May 2021, Amazon (parent company of Amazon Studios) entered negotiations to acquire Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). On May 26, 2021, it was announced that the studio would be acquired by Amazon for $8.45 billion, subject to regulatory approval, continuing to operate as a label alongside Amazon Studios and Amazon Prime Video.[4] Amazon will continue to partner with United Artists Releasing (MGM and Annapurna Pictures' joint distribution venture), which will continue to operate and release MGM titles theatrically "on a case-by-case basis."

In August 2021, it was reported that Steven Prinz inked an overall TV deal and a first-look deal with the studio.[20] In September 2021, it was reported that Brian Otaño had signed a deal with Amazon Studios.[21] Also in September, Eddie Murphy had signed a first-look film deal with Amazon Studios.[22]

In January 2022, Westbrook signed a multi-year first-look deal with Amazon Studios. That same month, Amazon Studios signed a ten-figure deal with 87North Productions.

In November 2022, it was announced that Jennifer Salke, in addition to Amazon Studios, will be given full control of MGM's film and television divisions, with Brearton stepping down as COO to become the Vice President of PVS Corporate Strategy for MGM+ and MGM Alternative Television.[23]

In December 2022, Intrepid Pictures signed a multi-year overall television deal with Amazon Studios.[24] The studio is one of the largest employers in Culver City with roughly 2,700 staffing their headquarters and production facilities.[25] In January 2023, Critical Role Productions signed a multi-year overall television and first-look film deal with Amazon Studios.[26]

In March 2023, it was announced in response to the decision to release Air into theaters worldwide instead of Prime Video, that Amazon had shut down United Artists Releasing and folded the distributor's operations into MGM, making Creed III the first film to be distributed by the latter studio itself under Amazon's ownership.[27] Also in March, Joe Quesada signed an exclusive first-look deal with Amazon Studios, and the studio also signed a multi-year first-look film deal with Imagine Entertainment.[28][29]

In May 2023, Amazon Studios created Amazon MGM Studios Distribution, an international film and television distribution unit for Amazon and MGM projects.[30] The distributor's first films were Saltburn, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on August 30, 2023, Sitting in Bars with Cake, which was released on Prime Video on September 8, 2023, and A Million Miles Away which was released on Prime Video on September 15, 2023, all 3 films were released through the MGM banner.[31][32] On October 4, 2023, Pablo Iacoviello, the studio's director of monetization for local originals, announced at the TV forum Iberseries & Platino Industria in Madrid that Amazon Studios would merge with MGM Holdings and would be renamed to Amazon MGM Studios itself to reflect this. This would also result in all films from the studio, as of September 2023, to open with the 2021 MGM logo designed by Baked Studios.[3]

In December 2023, Amazon MGM Studios secured a deal with Games Workshop, the creator of Warhammer 40,000, to adapt its characters and stories for film and television. The agreement, involving British actor Henry Cavill as an executive producer and actor, enables Amazon MGM to produce Warhammer 40,000 themed movies and TV shows.[33] In January 2024, Amazon announced hundreds of layoffs across Amazon MGM Studios, Prime Video and Twitch in order to "prioritize our investments for the long-term success of our business, while relentlessly focusing on what we know matters most to our customers," according to Mike Hopkins.[34] In March 2024, beginning with the Prime Video release of the remake of Road House, Amazon MGM Studios kicked off the centennial anniversary celebration of the founding of MGM with a "100 Years" logo variant that will appear on all films produced solely by MGM throughout the year.

In April 2024, Amazon MGM signed a three-year first-look deal with Jake Gyllenhaal's Nine Stories Productions banner, for which they will have a first look on films the latter company intends to produce for theatrical and streaming releases, including a film adaptation of the musical Fun Home.[35]

Accolades

In 2015, Transparent was the first show produced by Amazon Studios to win a major award and the first show produced by a streaming media service to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy (a.k.a. "Golden Globe for Best Series").[36] In 2017, for Manchester by the Sea, Amazon Studios became the first streaming media service to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture;[37] the film was nominated for a total of six Academy Awards, winning two: Best Actor for Casey Affleck and Best Original Screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan. The film The Salesman (2016) won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film; it was directed by Asghar Farhadi and distributed in the US by Amazon Studios.[38] In 2018, the period comedy-drama television series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, starring Rachel Brosnahan, won two Golden Globe Awards (Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for Brosnahan) and five Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Brosnahan. In 2023, Orion Pictures' American Fiction earned Amazon MGM Studios its first win for the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival following the studio's rebrand.[39]

Assets

See also: MGM Holdings § Assets

Film production and distribution

Television

Channels

Others

Productions library

Further information: List of libraries owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Television series

See also: List of Amazon Prime Video original programming and List of MGM Television programs

Films

Main articles: List of Amazon MGM Studios films and List of Amazon Prime Video original films

References

  1. ^ Lumb, David (February 10, 2018). "NBC's Jennifer Salke is the new Amazon Studios chief". Engadget. Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2018. Her predecessor, Roy Price, resigned in October 2017
  2. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (17 October 2016). "Amazon Studios Comedy Chief Joe Lewis Adds Drama Oversight, Morgan Wandell To Head International Productions". Deadline. Archived from the original on 8 November 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b de la Fuente, Anne Marie (October 3, 2023). "Amazon Studios Now Called Amazon MGM Studios, Exec Pablo Iacoviello Reveals in Iberseries Keynote". Variety. Retrieved October 3, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Spangler, Todd; Lang, Brent (May 26, 2021). "Amazon Buys MGM, Studio Behind James Bond, for $8.45 Billion". Variety. Archived from the original on January 25, 2022. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  5. ^ Perez, Sarah (May 2, 2012). "Amazon Studios Now Funding Original Content Series For Amazon Video Service". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on April 19, 2019. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
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  7. ^ a b Moyer, Edward (June 23, 2012). "Amazon's 'Studios' effort picks first TV shows to develop". CNET. Archived from the original on June 24, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  8. ^ West, Kelly (May 2, 2012). "Amazon Studios Invites TV Writers To Submit Comedy And Children's Series Ideas". Cinema Blend. Archived from the original on May 4, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Graser, Marc (February 21, 2008). "Amazon, Fox nursing 'Stolen '". Variety. Archived from the original on February 26, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2008.
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