Amazon will start making original movies this year
James R | On 19, Jan 2015
Amazon will start making original movies this year.
If you asked us for our VOD predictions at the start of 2015, Amazon producing their own films would have been top of the list. Netflix has had great success with its original features, particularly in the documentary field, with The Square last year and Virunga this year each earning the company Oscar nominations. After establishing its credibility by winning the first ever Golden Globe for Best TV Series with Transparent, it’s only natural that Amazon should start stepping up its original content game.
Now, it’s official: Amazon is moving into the movie business. The company will start to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video this year. 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 US just 4 to 8 weeks after their theatrical debut.
Exact details on what this will mean for UK audiences is unclear, but with Amazon original shows debuting around the world at the same time, you can expect British audiences to at the very least be close behind.
The announcement comes on the back of the launch of Amazon’s latest pilot season, which is its most ambitious yet, including a Ridley Scott-produced adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle. Amazon’s movie business will be equally ambitious, with Vice President of Amazon Studios Roy Price saying they aim to create “close to 12 movies a year”.
“We look forward to expanding our production efforts into feature films,” Price says. “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 has 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,” comments Hope. “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.”
Hope also co-founded and ran production company Good Machine, which produced Academy Award-nominated films such as Eat Drink Man Woman and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – the sequel to which, curiously enough, is Netflix’s next big movie production, which will jump into IMAX cinemas and onto VOD streams on the same day later this year.
The VOD race is heating up. And Amazon is now competing right at the front of the pack.