Why ‘Gone With the Wind’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ are not part of the Amazon/MGM deal

Credit Ted Turner for why HBO Max now has those movies.

Ted Turner is why classic films such as “Gone With the Wind,” “Singing in the Rain,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “The Wizard of Oz” are not part of the new Amazon purchase of MGM assets for $8.45 billion.

Rather, those films are currently on the WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max.

Turner, who sold his company to Time Warner 25 years ago, purchased MGM’s catalog of films back in 1986 from Vegas hotelier Kirk Kerkorian for about $1.1 billion. Turner immediately sold back the film library of United Artists to Kerkorian, including the treasured James Bond film library.

The remaining 3,650 MGM films provided Turner content for his established network TBS as well as his new TNT network. In 1994, Turner started Turner Classic Movies, which started using a bulk of the MGM film library. Turner had a particular love for “Gone With the Wind.” The films he purchased included those created by MGM, RKO and Warner Bros. before 1950.

Analysts at the time believed Turner significantly overpaid for the film library.

AT&T purchased Time Warner in 2018 and re-dubbed its media operation WarnerMedia. To this day, all of MGM’s films prior to 1986 belong to WarnerMedia, soon to be spun off as part of a deal AT&T just announced with Discovery.

Amazon Prime, assuming the purchase clears regulatory hurdles, will be able to bolster its relatively thin slate of films with 4,000 more movies including the Bond movies, “Tomb Raider,” “Raging Bull,” “Rocky,” “RoboCop,” “Moonstruck” and “The Silence of the Lambs.” It also picks up some coveted TV series such as “Fargo” “A Handmaid’s Tale,” “Stargate SG-1″ and “Viking.”

Some of the pre-1986 films Amazon bought were part of United Artists. The other MGM films were released after 1986.

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