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Amazon launches MGM+ streaming service that replaces Epix

17 Jan 2023 | Rasmus Larsen |

After its acquisition of Hollywood studio MGM, Amazon has this week in the US launched MGM+ which replaces Epix. But why?

Do we really need more streaming services especially from a player who already has at least two (Prime Video, Freevee)? Amazon certainly seems to think so.

- "It’s a new beginning for our service, as we introduce MGM+ and its distinctive brand promise to viewers on January 15," said Michael Wright, head of MGM+. "MGM+ will deliver on its iconic and beloved studio legacy, with cinematic, sophisticated, and transportive storytelling that audiences love."

The MGM+ app is compatible with Android TV, Google TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and mobile devices, plus the web. In addition, MGM+ is available as an Apple TV channel inside the Apple TV app. It also offers Google TV integration.


MGM+

MGM+ is available now in the US. Photo: Company

There are no signs of 4K HDR or Dolby Atmos support, despite the studio availability of 4K masters for multiple titles. The catalog includes titles such as James Bond including No Time to Die, Top Gun: Maverick, Rocky, The Silence of the Lambs, Platoon, Robocop and The Magnificent Seven. Also read: Amazon is reportedly planning for 12-15 theatrical movies per year As such, it would appear that Amazon has no plans to bring the full MGM catalog to Prime Video. That's a shame.

Upcoming MGM+ content

Returning shows 'Godfather of Harlem' Available January 15 A gangster named Bumpy Johnson makes his way in Harlem during the 1960s in Godfather of Harlem, a TV prequel to the 2007 film American Gangster, which centered on the criminal enterprise of Frank Lucas. The series stars and is executive produced by Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker, and is created by Chris Brancato and Paul Eckstein (Narcos). 'FROM' Available April 23 FROM unravels the mystery of a nightmarish town that traps all those who enter. The stellar ensemble cast is led by Harold Perrineau (Lost), and the series is created and executive produced by John Griffin (Crater), directed and executive produced by Jack Bender (Game of Thrones), and executive produced by showrunner Jeff Pinkner (Lost). New to MGM+ 'Murf the Surf' Available February 5 Murf the Surf, based on the infamous jewel thief Jack Roland Murphy, is written and directed by Emmy winner R.J. Cutler (Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry) and executive produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. 'A Spy Among Friends' Available March 13 A Spy Among Friends is based on the New York Times best-selling book written by Ben Macintyre, which follows the adventures of a British intelligence officer who learns his close friend and colleague might be a double agent. The series stars Golden Globe- and Emmy-winning actor Damian Lewis (Homeland), Emmy winner Guy Pearce (Mare of Easttown), and Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland). MGM+ originals in development 'American Classic' American Classic is a half-hour comedy about a man desperately trying to save himself, his family, and his hometown in the only way he knows how—by putting on a show. Broadway star and notorious narcissist Richard Bean (Kevin Kline) suffers a spectacular public meltdown, and decides to return home to the family-run theater where he first became aware of his own brilliance. When he arrives, he's shocked to find that his brother (Jon Tenney), and his brother’s wife (who also happens to be his former lover), have turned his temple of art into a dinner theater—with the emphasis on dinner. To make matters worse, his hometown of Millersberg is teetering on the edge of economic disaster. Inspired, Richard vows to put on a show so great that it will save the theatre, the town, and, most importantly, his career. But with the family and town in chaos, the constant threat of financial ruin, and Richard’s enormous ego, will they even make it to opening night? Michael Hoffman, Bob Martin, Leslie Urdang, Kline, Anthony Bregman, and Miriam Mintz are attached as executive producers. American Classic is being developed as a co-production between MGM+ Studios and Anonymous Content’s AC Studios. 'Ark' It’s 2030, the oceans have risen rapidly, and soon, the entire planet will be submerged. But the discovery of another life-sustaining planet light-years away gives those who remain alive hope. Only a few will be able to make the unprecedented, generations-long journey, and those who don’t make the cut face a watery death. Based on the books by Stephen Baxter, the series is in development as a co-production between MGM+ Studios and Anonymous Content. Joe Pokaski and Vince Gerardis are attached as executive producers. 'Billy the Kid' Season Two Featuring an ensemble cast led by Tom Blyth (The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes), the epic romantic adventure inspired by the life of America’s most infamous outlaw continues in Season Two, as Billy and his allies square off against his oldest friend Jesse Evans (Daniel Webber) and the corrupt powers of the Santa Fe Ring. When shots are fired, the conflict erupts into the bloody Lincoln County War. Amidst the fighting, Billy will struggle to hang onto his soul—and to the love of his life. Creator, writer, and executive producer Michael Hirst (Elizabeth, The Tudors, Vikings) will return for the second season alongside executive producers Donald De Line (De Line Pictures), Darryl Frank, and Justin Falvey (Amblin Television). The series is a co-production between MGM+ Studios and MGM International Television Productions, in association with Amblin Television and De Line Pictures. Production will begin in Canada later this year. 'Earth Abides' When a plague of unprecedented virulence sweeps the globe, the human race is all but wiped out. In the aftermath, as the great machine of civilization slowly and inexorably breaks down, only a few shattered survivors remain to struggle against the slide into barbarism—or extinction. Based on the novel by George R. Stewart, MGM+ Studios is developing, with Michael Phillips, Juliana Maio, and Kearie Peak attached as executive producers. 'Hoodlum' Based on the 1997 MGM film written by Chris Brancato, this drama series set in the 1930s follows the true story of Harlem numbers queen Stephanie St. Clair’s rise to prominence and mentorship of Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson. MGM+ Studios is developing, and Brancato and Monica Macer are co-creating and executive-producing. 'Hotel Cocaine' Hotel Cocaine follows a CIA operative and manager of The Mutiny Hotel through Miami’s cocaine scene in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. The crime thriller is executive produced by Chris Brancato and is scheduled to premiere next winter. 'Hollywood Black' Based on the book by historian Donald Bogle, this four-part docuseries tells the epic story of the actors, writers, directors, and producers who fought for their place on the page, behind the camera, on the screen, and in the credits. It is a definitive chronicle of a century of the Black experience in Hollywood and a powerful reexamination of a quintessentially American story—in brilliant color. Culture Machine’s Justin Simien (Dear White People, Bad Hair) and Kyle Laursen, Significant Productions’ Forest Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi (Godfather of Harlem), and RadicalMedia’s Dave Sirulnick, Stacey Reiss, and Jon Kamen (Summer of Soul) will all serve as executive producers. Simien and Jeffrey Schwarz (Tab Hunter Confidential, I Am Divine) are set to direct. 'Hot Stuff' Mention the word “disco” to most people and it brings back memories of a plastic music fad, the movie Saturday Night Fever, and the infamous New York City club Studio 54. Yet there is so much more to the story. Hot Stuff is a four-part docuseries that dives into what was nothing less than a liberation movement. From its birth in underground gay clubs, where DJs broke new music on their twin turntables, disco, with its infectious 4/4 beat and powerful basslines, exploded on the scene in the 1970s. From rampant hedonism to rule-breaking fashion, to a bevy of divas with luscious vocals, disco marked a transformation in the look and sound of a society ready for change. Was disco the forgettable fast-food of pop music, or was it a cultural revolution that still resonates today? Oscar-nominated documentary studio XTR (They Call Me Magic) will be producing the series, while David Friendly and Lesley Chilcott are attached as executive producers. 'The Devil Within' This four-part true-crime docuseries is based on the hit Cavalry Audio podcast The Devil Within, which follows the mysterious murder of Betty Ann Sullivan during the height of the Satanic Panic. Filled with twists, turns, and iconic legends, the series fuses true crime with horror. Simply put, what started as a dark, small-town murder investigation quickly spiraled into a paranormal mystery. Executive produced by Eli Roth, with executive producers Dirk Hoogstra and Nicole Sorrenti for Half Yard Productions, a North Road Company. 'Rogue Heroes' Season Two This critically acclaimed hit drama series from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight will return for a second season in 2024. Season One followed David Stirling (Connor Swindells), Jock Lewes (Alfie Allen), and Paddy Mayne (Jack O’Connell) in a dramatized account of how the British Army’s Special Air Service (SAS) unit was formed in the darkest days of World War II, with fellow cast members including Dominic West, Sofia Boutella, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Theo Barklem-Biggs. The second season will show viewers what comes next for the SAS, following the dramatic turn of events in Season One’s finale episode. Production on this six-part series with a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score will begin in 2023. 'San Francisco Sounds' This two-part documentary series tracks the history of the San Francisco music scene from 1965 to 1975. It is scheduled to premiere in the fall 2023. 'The Emperor of Ocean Park' From John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television, The Emperor of Ocean Park is a thrilling, suspenseful take on Stephen L. Carter’s best-selling novel. Set in the worlds of D.C. politics, Ivy League academia, and the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, the series centers on Talcott Garland’s quiet life as an Ivy League law professor whose world is shattered when his father, Judge Oliver Garland, dies of an apparent heart attack. The nature of the judge’s death is questioned by Tal’s sister, Mariah, a former journalist and constant conspiracy theorist, who believes that the judge, a former failed Black nominee to the Supreme Court, met with foul play. Sherman Payne is the writer, with Damian Marcano attached to direct. 'Wonderland Murders & the Secret History of Hollywood' When best-selling crime novelist Michael Connelly discovered that Scott Thorson, best known as Liberace’s lover and author of the tell-all Behind the Candelabra, held the keys to the infamous Wonderland Murders, he only had one problem: Thorson’s stories sounded too unbelievable to be true. As the stories got weirder and wilder, and Thorson’s own “nine lives” stretched beyond the Wonderland Murders themselves, Connelly struggled with how far to follow this unreliable narrator. Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer, Bosch, Bosch: Legacy) executive produces the four-episode documentary series alongside Jen Casey and Nick Gilhool for Miziker Content; Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman for The Intellectual Property Corporation (IPC), a part of Sony Pictures Television; and Rick Jackson. Alison Ellwood (The Go-Go’s, How to Change Your Mind, Laurel Canyon) will direct as well as executive produce.
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