If Amazon Studios‘ two Golden Globe awards for “Transparent” didn’t tip you off, or their recent announcement that they snagged Woody Allen to write and direct an exclusive TV series that will air in 2016, the company is unquestionably now a major player in the streaming game. While folks like Hulu and Yahoo have made fledgling efforts to offer their own competitive programming to Netflix, Amazon is leaping ahead in challenging the company’s dominance and this next announcement is particularly big, especially with the Sundance Film Festival kicking off this week.
Amazon Studios has announced they will produce and acquire original films for theatrical release and, of course, for their Amazon Prime Instant Video service. Even more, the company has hired respected producer Ted Hope (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “21 Grams,” “In The Bedroom,” “The Ice Storm“) to lead their Amazon Original Movies division, bringing the endeavor an instant level of industry credibility and veteran experience.
Netflix this year will launch their first original movie production with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” but if they thought they were alone in the original movie department, guess again. Amazon has big plans, aiming to release up to twelve movies per year, with the first slated to arrive by the end of 2015.
This is all very good news for filmmakers who, with Amazon now in the game, have yet another avenue through which their movies can be distributed, and it will be very interesting to see what kind of noise Amazon will make in Park City over the next couple of weeks. Check out the official press release below.
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–(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.”