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By buying MGM, Amazon gets these 8 blockbuster movies

May 26, 2021, 5:41 PM UTC

Amazon confirmed on Wednesday that it would pay $8.5 billion for iconic Hollywood studio MGM and add its vast library of 4,000 movies and 17,000 T.V. shows to Amazon Prime Video.

In its almost century-long history, MGM’s films have won 180 Academy Awards while its TV shows have garnered 100 Emmy awards, though the rights to some MGM classics including The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain were sold off to Ted Turner in the 1980s.

Here are some of the most notable movies Amazon would own and perhaps develop into new reboots and sequels after the purchase is completed:

Ben-Hur (1925)

Originally a novel and then a Broadway hit, Ben-Hur became one of the silent film era’s most enduring movies. Starring George Walsh and May McAvoy, it was also the era’s most expensive, and MGM reportedly lost $700,000 (equivalent to $11 million today) on the picture during its original run. The movie’s exciting chariot race sequence has been imitated many times, including by George Lucas in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

One of the greatest Westerns ever made, John Sturges’ tale of seven unlikely heroes who save a Mexican village from bandits was closely based on Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, and Eli Wallach played the leads. The film’s score by Elmer Bernstein is one of the most recognizable (and re-used) in Hollywood history. The movie also led to three sequels, a TV series, and a 2016 remake.

The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, 1999)

Debate rages over which version of the story of the titular successful banker turned criminal is superior. But to modern tastes, the original version set in Boston and starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway comes across as a bit crude and sexist. The remake, with the action moved to New York and the bank robbery switched to an art heist, still thrills, and Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo had the better chemistry.

Raging Bull (1980)

One of director Martin Scorsese’s greatest films, the movie is based on the true-life story of boxer Jake LaMotta. Robert De Niro starred as LaMotta with Joe Pesci as his brother and manager. De Niro famously gained 60 pounds to look the part and took the Oscar for best actor. It didn’t make nearly as much money as MGM’s more well-known boxing flick, Rocky, but it’s the more beloved by cinefiles.

Thelma & Louise (1991)

Ridley Scott’s feminist twist on the classic buddy movie starred Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, and had a small part played by Brad Pitt in one of his earliest roles. Screenwriter Callie Khouri won an Oscar for her script, which received some criticism at the time for being anti-male. But history has judged the film positively and it was added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry in 2016.

Legally Blonde (2001)

The comedic tale of underestimated sorority girl Elle Wood, played by Reese Witherspoon, was a surprise box office success and became an unexpected inspiration to women wanting to get into law. Though it won no Oscars, Legally Blonde swept multiple MTV Movie Awards in 2002, including getting the “best line” for Wood’s put down that starts, “Oh, I like your outfit too.” The movie led to several sequels and a Broadway musical. A third sequel with Witherspoon is in the works for 2022.

Casino Royale (2006)

Nothing like the absurdist 1967 version made by Columbia Pictures, the more recent adaptation of James Bond’s origin story kicked off a revival of the Bond franchise with Daniel Craig in the lead role. The 25th Bond movie, No Time Die, had been stuck in limbo due to the pandemic since filming was completed in 2019, but is now scheduled to debut in October. MGM co-owns the Bond franchise with U.K. film producer EON, somewhat complicating any effort by Amazon to develop the spy story further.

The Hobbit (2012, 2013, 2014)

Director Peter Jackson followed up his blockbuster success Lord of the Rings series, produced by New Line Cinema, with the prequel tale by JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit, for MGM. Divided into three movies, the story starred Martin freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Ian McKellen reprised his role from the earlier trilogy as the wizard Gandalf. Though a huge box office success, taking in almost $3 billion worldwide, it was not beloved by critics.

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