The e-commerce giant said on Wednesday that it would acquire the 97-year-old film and television studio for $8.45 billion — or about 40 percent more than other prospective buyers, including Apple and Comcast, thought MGM was worth. The studio, which had been shopped around for months, was once home to "more stars than the heavens," as Louis B. Mayer liked to brag. But its vast production lot and pre-1986 film library were sold off decades ago. (Sony Pictures now occupies the lot, and Warner Bros. owns classic MGM films like "Singin' in the Rain," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Gone With the Wind.")
MGM does come with one Hollywood crown jewel: James Bond.
But even 007 has an asterisk. Amazon will own only 50 percent of the spy franchise. The balance is held by Barbara Broccoli and her brother, Michael G. Wilson. The siblings also have ironclad creative control, deciding when to make a new Bond film, who should play the title role and whether television spinoffs get made. (They have blocked such efforts in the past.)