Amazon may be on its way to a theater near you. Amazon Studios, the online retailer's video production wing, has announced that it will start producing and acquiring its own original movies, debuting them in theaters and bringing them to Amazon Instant Video shortly thereafter. These works will come under the banner of Amazon Original Movies.
Amazon Studios has already produced a number of television series such as Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent. This has furthered its competition with Netflix, the video on demand provider that has broken records with its own originally-produced series House of Cards and plans to release its own original movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend in the summer of 2015.
Amazon clearly doesn't want to be left behind, and interestingly enough, the man it has hired to be head of Amazon Original Movies is Ted Hope, who co-founded (but later sold) the production company that would go on to produce the original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
This move continues Amazon's usual trend of producing or encouraging the creation of content for its platforms. Long before getting into video production, it sought authors to self-publish books for its e-book readers using Kindle Direct Publishing. Amazon Game Studios also cranks out a number of games each year for the company's Android-based Fire products.
That's not to say that Amazon doesn't have good reason to step into a new industry or that this will be bad for consumers. Movies generally take 39 to 52 weeks to reach Amazon Instant Video after hitting theaters, but Amazon's own films will come in just 4 to 8, a big plus for cord cutters. The company aims to release a dozen original movies each year.
Amazon to Produce Original Movies for Theaters, Prime Instant Video
Production to begin in 2015 with the goal of bringing customers a dozen original, prestige movies each year
Movies will launch in theaters and come to Prime Instant Video 30-60 days after theatrical premiere
Ted Hope to lead creative as Head of Production, Amazon Original Movies
SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 19, 2015-- (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon Studios, known for television series such as multi-Golden Globe winner Transparent, Annie-nominated Tumble Leaf, and Mozart in the Jungle, today announced that it will begin to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Whereas it typically takes 39 to 52 weeks for theatrical movies to premiere on subscription video services, Amazon Original Movies will premiere on Prime Instant Video in the U.S. just 4 to 8 weeks after their theatrical debut. Amazon Original Movies will focus on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and up-and-coming creators.
“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.”
Amazon Original Movies creative development will be led by independent film visionary Ted Hope. Hope co-founded and ran production company Good Machine, which produced notable and Academy Award-nominated films such as Eat Drink Man Woman and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Hope's films have received some of the industry's most prestigious honors including numerous Academy Award and BAFTA nominations. Hope has also won The Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival more often than any other producer at the festival with his films American Splendor, The Brothers McMullen, and What Happened Was….
“Audiences already recognize that Amazon has raised the bar with productions in the episodic realm, tackling bold material in unique ways and collaborating with top talent, both established and emerging. 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. “Amazon Original Movies will be synonymous with films that amaze, excite, and move our fans, wherever customers watch. I am incredibly thrilled to be part of this.”