Amazon wants to make big investments in movies for theatrical release. According to a report by Bloomberg, Amazon plans to spend more than $1 billion a year on movies intended to be released in theaters. Specifically, the report indicates that the company is shooting to make 12 to 15 movies a year that will be released in movie theaters, marking the largest theatrical commitment by a streaming company. According to the report, the actual strategy has not yet been finalized and the production of films intended for theatrical release will grow over time, starting with a smaller number of films to be released in theaters next year and building from there.
Amazon looking for theaters to release movies marks a bit of a departure from most streaming services, including Netflix, which release movies on fewer theater screens and for less time – an example being the Knives out continuation, Glass onionwhich will be released in theaters for just one week before streaming on Netflix.
Amazon’s plans are probably welcome news for theater operators. Shares of AMC and Cinemark both rose on news of Amazon’s plans. Theaters have seen a decline in ticket sales in the United States in recent years, largely due to the pandemic that closed theaters for almost all of 2020 and saw a shift in the strategy of releasing movies to streaming – a trend that has continued as major movie studios continue to create original movies for release on their associated streaming platforms.
Earlier this year, Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, spoke about the company’s film and theatrical strategy.
“You’ll see us investing even more in film as a company,” Salke told Variety. “You’re going to see more investment and more expanded capabilities for movie. You’re going to see more fluidity between theatrical and streaming options for movies. And then there’s a TV team that’s still working on great shows that exist outside of our company. And we’re I look forward to more collaboration as time goes on.”
“With all the IP and our growing strategy around film, more opportunities will come,” added Salke.
“[Box office] certainly matters,” Salke said. “Our goal is to make some big movies that will have value across the spectrum in theatrical and then streaming. The goal is to make hit movies. We all know that’s not easy. As we build out the larger companies around us and all the things we’re doing in terms of ad-supported streaming, we’re just thinking about more options for customers. Nothing rings the bell louder than great originals that are global. So you’ll see us investing more in the film side and the television side.”
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