Amazon to Start Theatrical Movie Operation, With a Quick Streaming Tie-In

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amazon Studios to Produce Movies for Theatrical, Digital Release in 2015.

The small screen’s about to get a whole lot bigger: Amazon Studios announced Monday that it will begin acquiring and producing movies for theatrical release, to be followed by streaming on Prime Instant Video four to eight weeks after their debut in cinemas.

Amazon Studios vice president Roy Price said he hopes these movies benefit not only their subscribers, but also filmmakers, “who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.” The announcement comes just one week after Amazon Studios was awarded two Golden Globes for its original (and arguably fresh and daring) series Transparent. To help carry the torch into the feature film world for such an innovative company is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility,” said Ted Hope, the new head of production for Amazon Original Movies. Hope’s production company, Good Machine, has produced films such as Eat Drink Man Woman and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. (Oddly enough, a sequel to Crouching Tiger is being produced by Netflix.) The story behind the story: By delaying its Prime launches by at least a month from the theatrical release, Amazon is taking a different approach than rival Netflix, whose upcoming original films will arrive in theaters and on the streaming service at the same time. While Netflix’s plan is obviously better for subscribers, it’s unlikely to get much support from major theater chains, who already plan to boycott the Crouching Tiger sequel.

The move comes on the heels of Sony Pictures’ unprecedented digital distribution of the Seth Rogen comedy “The Interview.” Netflix has also pushed into movies, inking deals with Adam Sandler and the Weinstein Co. © 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. Without theatrical releases and all the box office revenue that comes with them, it may be harder for Netflix or Amazon to market their original films. Theaters may be more likely to screen the films in the first place if they have a window of exclusivity, thereby building up hype that Amazon can convert into Prime memberships just a month or two later. While Netflix’s vision of day-and-date streaming and theatrical releases sounds alluring, the major chains seem determined to ensure that it isn’t realistic.

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