Back in the ’80s when the first Terminator movie came out, it was one of the most successful movies of all-time. In its first week of its release, the film raked in $13 million, which was a lot back in the day. Now it’s 2017, and every year there are dozens of movies made, in a variety of genres. There are plenty more to come, too. So, which are the next 15? Here are 15 movies that might make their way to Amazon Studios, the company’s licensed movie arm, down the road.
Amazon is reportedly planning to make a streaming channel that will take on Netflix. The service reportedly will include a number of content from MGM, including the James Bond franchise, the Planet of the Apes films, and more. The report states that it is the studio’s intention to make content available to Amazon Prime subscribers, as well as the general public.
MGM is one of the big players in the movie business, and it is not shy when it comes to starting a franchise. The company’s most famous franchise is James Bond, which has 13 movies in total. In 2016, the company also created The Hobbit, which is also based on the popular Lord of the Rings trilogy. But MGM has a lot of other franchises as well, including for instance Ocean’s Eleven and Halle Berry’s movie career.
After days of speculation, it has been officially confirmed that Amazon is the new owner of MGM, and by proxy they now own many major film and television franchises and can do whatever they want with them. Like Disney’s acquisition of Fox before it, the merger opens up many new opportunities for Amazon – even though some films, like The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, will be unavailable for complicated legal reasons. Since the Prime Video service already has a slew of hit TV series, such as Bosch, Guys and Jack Ryan, as well as the multi-million dollar Lord of the Rings series, we take a look at which of Amazon’s recently acquired movie franchises could launch now and which are likely to be dropped.
We can’t start this list without mentioning MGM’s most profitable film. In the film industry, there are few things you can be sure of, like the fact that there will always be another James Bond movie sometime in the future. Since Dr. No brought the MI6 agent to the big screen and made Sean Connery a megastar, the role has been passed down from generation to generation with varying degrees of success. Even when it seemed that the franchise was exhausted, something appeared to give it the boost it needed. Daniel Craig’s performance in the 2006 film Casino Royale was such a shocker. He showed a violent and emotional side of Bond that had been missing for a while, and it was a hit with moviegoers. Daniel Craig’s career ends this year with the release of No Time to Die, and there has been talk for a few years about who will replace him. If there’s one franchise that Amazon has a lot of money on, it’s this one. We expect big stars to claim the vacant role, and the announcement of the next generation of Bond will be on the priority list.
The 1980s spawned many macho and violent film franchises, including Robocop. Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film tells the story of a police officer, Alex Murphy, played by Peter Weller, who is killed on duty and brought back to life as a half-cyborg. Like many of Verhoeven’s films, the film is so violent that it had to be heavily edited to get the certification the studio wanted. The original film was a critical success and its satirical look at corporate greed and the police system made it more than a mindless action movie. The film led to two poorly received sequels, and RoboCop 3 (1994) was considered a total failure and a killer of the franchise. However, after the release of several video games and animated series, a reboot of the film franchise hit theaters in 2014, which received mixed reviews but was a financial success. A direct sequel to the 1987 film has been announced for 2020, with Abe Forsythe directing and coauthoring the script. Would Amazon consider it a risk to take? A great nostalgic trip to the 80s could help put another sequel on Amazon’s project list in the near future.
The story of Rocky began in 1976 when Sylvester Stallone first heard Adrian scream through crushed lips, and a legacy was born. The original film cost just over $1 million, but brought in over $225 million at the box office worldwide. With such a comeback and a Best Picture win at the Oscars, the film was unstoppable. And it isn’t. To date, the franchise has spawned seven sequels, including the Creed and Creed 2 spin-offs in 2015 and 2018, respectively, and a third Creed film expected in 2022. While Stallone appears to be leaving the series after announcing in April that he will not appear in Creed 3 as his character Rocky Balboa, there have been talks since 2019 about a possible prequel to the original film based on the life of a younger Rocky. Could Amazon choose this particular location for a franchise? With Creed and Creed 2 being major blockbusters, it’s unlikely they’ll drop Rocky, but without Stallone, a prequel film or series might be the best option.
Tolkien’s works are a dark and twisted mess when it comes to who owns what. The original Lord of the Rings trilogy was made twenty years ago by New Line Cinema and WingNut Films – if you can believe that – and the later Hobbit trilogy was co-financed by New Line, WingNut Films and MGM, with Warner Bros. handling distribution. Amazon bought the TV rights to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings in 2017 for just $250 million and plans to release five seasons based on the Middle Earth stories, making it one of the most expensive TV series of all time. However, since this series takes place thousands of years before the events of The Hobbit, it is unlikely that we will see the adventures of Bilbo and his companions again anytime soon, and certainly not in movie form. The first season of the series is expected to air on Prime Video later this year and will likely be a sequel to Tolkien’s work in the near future.
The Addams Family
They’re creepy and sinister, and the story the Addams Family is a part of is kind of scary. Amazon acquired the rights to The Addams Family, while MGM is the current rights holder for the family created by Charles Addams in 1938. Over the years, many aspects of the family, which began as a series of disjointed one-page cartoons more than half of which were published in The New Yorker, have been bought up for use, including by Disney (the 1998 television series), Warner Bros. (the 1973 and 1992 TV series), MGM-owned Orion Pictures (which owns the original series and parts of the 1991 film), and Universal Pictures/United Artists (for the 2019 and 2021 animated films). The Addams Family is one of those creations that is so iconic that it’s hard to imagine not having something new in production all the time. Given the recent animated films and the fact that Tim Burton is currently shooting his series for Netflix Wednesday, it’s likely that Amazon will look into this franchise at some point when they see how Burton’s series is received.
Bill and Ted
The adventures of William Bill S. Preston and Ted Theodore Logan, played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves respectively, began in 1989 when the two men traveled back in time on the excellent adventure and met many icons from past centuries. A few years later, they return in Journey to Hell, in which they are sent to hell – literally, as they play Twister as the Grim Reaper and turn to God for a chance to return to earth. The franchise has also spawned an animated series, a live-action series, numerous games and books. A surprising and much delayed third film, Bill and Ted Meet the Music, was released in 2020, again starring Winters and Reeves. Although the new film has proven popular and the fourth film has been mentioned in a number of interviews, it’s unlikely that Amazon would be in favor of continuing the series, especially since the film’s writer, Ed Solomon, said in a recent interview that he thinks Bill and Ted’s story is over. But in the age of reboots and the fact that the duo has daughters in their last film, we could still see a spin-off of the franchise at some point.
Stargate is a science fiction franchise that began with a feature film in 1994 and revolves around an alien device capable of transporting humans across the galaxy and beyond almost instantaneously. The film, which grossed nearly $200 million, was followed by the series Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, all released between 1997 and 2011. Several Atlantis-related films have also been released, and most recently, in 2018, the web series Stargate Origins, consisting of ten episodes of ten minutes each, was released, partially coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Stargate SG-1. With so much ground covered that no new material has been seen for nearly a decade, Amazon will likely have a number of other projects before it considers a Stargate relaunch.
Legally Blonde, starring Reese Witherspoon, was released in cinemas in 2001, and a sequel was made shortly after, in 2003. There is also a little-known spin-off of the film, Legally Blondes, which was released direct to DVD in 2009. The franchise also spawned a musical that premiered in San Francisco in 2007 and then moved to New York. In May 2020, it was announced that screenwriters Mindy Kaling and Dan Gur had signed on for the third film in the series, and later that year MGM confirmed that Legally Blonde 3 would hit theaters in May 2022. With work on the film apparently progressing well, and given the popularity of the original films, it’s unlikely that Amazon will remove it from its production schedule.
The Pink Panther was first released in 1963, with Peter Sellers as the inept Inspector Clouzot. The film was so popular that there were at least 9 sequels in total, some with Sellers and some without. The film was also remade in 2006, with Stephen Martin in the iconic role of Sellers. Although critics reacted negatively to the film, Martin’s version was given a sequel in 2009. There’s been no attempt to continue the franchise since then, but maybe it’s time for Amazon to try and erase the memory of Clouseau-Martin and give us something more along the lines of Sellers’ fantastic original. Of course, if they really want to be polite, there are plenty of Pink Panther fans, including myself, who would be more than happy if Amazon left this book alone.
As for the MGM film series, GI Joe has had two films, starting with Rise of Cobra in 2009 and the second part with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson titled GI Joe: Retaliation in 2013. Although critics generally hated both films and negative reviews poured in like bullets, the films made money at the box office, making them a franchise that Amazon could very well revive. The fact that the film is based on the 1980s toy series also works in its favor. And since ’80s nostalgia is taking off right now, as in Masters of the Universe, this could be a worthy reboot project. If Amazon can create a decent plot for this project, it could definitely be a winner.
Author Stieg Larsson has only completed three books in his ten-book series about the girl, known as the Millennium Trilogy. Ironically, although MGM produced and released The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the good reviews and decent box office were not enough to make the other planned films. David Fincher had already planned sequels to The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Freed the Hornet’s Nest, but by 2015 the franchise was dead and a reboot was proposed. For unknown reasons, that didn’t work out and instead they made The Girl In The Spider’s Web, a sequel to the original film, based on the novel of the same name. Whether it was due to a completely different cast or a simple lack of willingness to do the job right, the film became a flop at the box office, bringing in only $35 million, about $10 million under budget. That said, I think Amazon will think very carefully before it decides to continue the franchise.
The Jump Street series debuted in 2012 with 21 Jump Street, which was based on the television series of the same name. The film, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, was a hit with critics and at the box office. 22, a sequel to Jump Street, was released in theaters in 2014 and received unexpected praise from many critics. Some even called it one of the best comedy sequels ever made, and they may be right because the film brought in $331 million worldwide, not a bad return for a $50 million budget. A third film was promised shortly after, as well as a possible crossover with the Men in Black franchise, but none of that came to fruition. In early 2015, it was also said that a female version of 21 Jump Street was in production, and in December 2018 Tiffany Haddish was confirmed for the lead role. Given the poor reception that many films about gender reassignment have received lately, the use of this orientation in the franchise seems highly questionable for the foreseeable future.
Barbershop was released in 2002 and is a comedy-drama film directed by Tim Story. The film received positive reviews from critics, but also many negative comments about the script. Despite this, the film was a commercial success, bringing in $77 million worldwide on a $12 million budget. Continuation, Hair Salon 2: In 2004 the film Back in business was released and in 2004 the third part Barber Shop: The Next Cut, released 12 years later in 2016, received generally high praise and decent box office results. In 2005, the spin-off Beauty Salon was released, starring Queen Latifah in the role she played in Barbershop 2. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received an approval rating of only 38%. Asking if Amazon will try to get more out of the franchise, since there are so many other offerings to choose from, probably won’t put Barbershop on the list.
Kampf der Titanen
Clash of the Titans was released in 2010, it is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, which was followed a few years later by its sequel, Wrath of the Titans. With stars: Liam Neeson, Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy, Rosamond Pike and others. Both films were very loosely based on different Greek myths, and it was perhaps this hodgepodge of stories that caused the wave of negative reviews. Despite a lack of critical support, Clash and Wrath brought in $483 million and $301 million respectively, but a planned sequel to Revenge of the Titans was scrapped due to a lack of positive reviews and a curious lack of ideas, which, given the abundance of Greek mythology stories, shows how little interest there was at the time to continue the saga. Amazon is currently putting a lot of energy – and money – into the Lord of the Rings series, and it’s unlikely that they would want to ruin their credibility in the fantasy genre by relaunching Titans.
Hot Tub Time Machine
Hot Tub Time Machine is a 2010 science fiction comedy film starring John Cusack… Well, a hot tub that was a time machine. The idea was no DeLorean, and the film was certainly no Back to the Future, but the film still received moderately positive reviews and brought in $64.6 million on a $36 million budget. On its own, that probably wouldn’t have been enough for a sequel, but the film received widespread support when it was released on DVD, and five years later there was indeed a sequel. However, this is one of those cases where a time machine of any kind would have been helpful to all involved – not counting Cusack, who only made a cameo in the unreleased version – as the film not only received unanimous praise from audiences and critics, but also managed to bring in only $12 million in its entire theatrical release, $2 million less than the opening weekend of the first film. If a franchise can burn up so spectacularly after only two movies, it’s safe to say Amazon won’t be bringing it back anytime soon.
Which of Amazon’s new acquisitions would you love to see on the big screen? With these franchises and many more to choose from, it looks like Amazon will definitely be in this business for years to come.
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