Electronic commerce company Amazon has announced its major expansion into movie business, thereby committing to producing feature films and film acquisitions. This marks a big step forward into the world of Hollywood.
Under Amazon Studios, the company announced its intent to produce 12 feature films a year. Like any other major film production outfits, the company will release its films through movie theatres. However, after several weeks, films will be streamed to consumers via its subscriptions service, Amazon Prime Instant Video.
“We look forward to expanding our production efforts into feature films,” said Roy Price, vice president of 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.”
The company has closely followed the footsteps of on-demand Internet streaming media provider Netflix, Inc. The recent announcement nonetheless marks an escalated rivalry between the two giants.
Both companies have intensified their rivalries in recent years, especially with the explosion of Internet televisions in the United States and around the world where streaming services are slowly competing with free or cable television programming.
But unlike Netflix, Amazon will not follow simultaneous release via theatres and streaming. As mentioned, the company will follow the Hollywood practice of delayed residential release although the window time will be shorter compared to common industry practice.
Amazon Studios has nonetheless lined up several film projects for 2015. Each film project will have a running budget of $5 million to $25 million, depending on production requirements.
Ted Hope, producer of highly acclaimed movies “Eat Drink Man Woman” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” will head the specific film production outfit Amazon Original Movies.
“Audiences already recognise 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,” Hope said. “To help carry the torch into the feature film world for such an innovative company is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility.”
Currently, Amazon Prime Instant Video services audience in the U.S., United Kingdom, Japan, Austria, and Germany. It delivers television shows and films either for rental or for purchase, with exclusive content deals with other producers including HBO. The service is free for subscribers of Amazon Prime.
Amazon recently won two Golden Globe awards for its successful series “Transparent,” specifically winning best comedy as well as a best actor for Jeffrey Tambor. The comedy-drama debuted on February 6, 2014 and follows the story of a Los Angeles family and the lives of its members after discovering that the head of household is a transgender.