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Indie Execs Debate Netflix & Amazon’s Place in the Realm of Theatrical Distribution

Some have learned to stop worrying and love the upstarts.

Amazon Studios has emerged as one of the year’s most significant distributors, picking up major films out of the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals — some before they’d even seen the light of day. This has earned them “disruptor” status along with Netflix, with some traditional theatrical distributors’ feeling threatened by the streaming giants’ new business model. Some have learned to stop worrying and love the upstarts, however, including Broad Green Pictures’ Daniel Hammond.

READ MORE: It’s an Amazon World at Cannes, With Five Selection Titles

At yesterday’s Produced By Conference held on the Sony lot, Hammond called Amazon Studios “a tremendous ally and asset” who are “paying for things in a way that people have become really cautious about. They are supporting material that you usually wouldn’t have that much excitement for. They are willing to bet on things.” Broad Green and Amazon are partnering on the release of Nicolas Winding Refn’s “The Neon Demon,” which comes out later this month after a buzzed-about Cannes debut. The two companies entered into a years-long streaming deal that will also see them collaborate on “A Walk in the Woods” and “The Infiltrator.”

READ MORE: Amazon Studios Expands Into Marketing and Distribution with Bob Berney Hire

The rise of Amazon’s distribution wing has been greeted with less trepidation than that of Netflix, which largely forgoes theatrical releases. Not everyone is as enthusiastic as Hammond. John Landgraf, the CEO of FX, called Netflix and its ilk a “terrible model for the future of creative” and “therefore a terrible thing for our society.” I guess he didn’t like “The Do-Over” either.

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