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Amazon to produce movies for theaters & streaming

20 Jan 2015 | Rasmus Larsen |

Just like Netflix, Amazon will start producing original movies for theaters and its own streaming service. Unlike Netflix, movies will not debut simultaneously. Amazon is hoping to create “close to twelve movies a year”.

Around twelve movies a year

Netflix and Amazon both started producing original TV series recently and the companies will both release their first original movie in 2015. Amazon’s efforts will be spearheaded by Ted Hope, which owned production company Good Machine that produced Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The goal is to produce or acquire about 12 movies per year, ranging from small indie-style productions to somewhat larger productions, as the budgets will be ranging from $5 to $25 million dollars per title. The movies will typically debut first in theaters and four to eight weeks later on the Amazon Prime Instant streaming service. A typical movie leaves theaters after 39 to 52 weeks.

Ted Hope, Amazon

- “We look forward to expanding our production efforts into feature films. Our goal is to create close to twelve movies a year with production starting later this year,” said Roy Price, Vice President, Amazon Studios. “Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

Despite its ambitions, Amazon will face an uphill battle in convincing theater chains to show the films. After Netflix announced its plans, chains publicly said that they refused to show Netflix’s sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Movie theaters prefer a minimum run of 90 days, which Amazon is not planning on giving them.

The limited availability of Amazon’s streaming service in the US, the UK, Germany, and Japan also gives Amazon less leverage compared to Netflix’s wide reach. Still, Amazon is determined to try as part of a grander plan to bring its streaming offerings to a wider audience.

You can try the Amazon Prime Instant service here.

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