Amazon Studios To Produce Original Films For Theatrical Release

Amazon Studios is apparently so happy with what it has accomplished in short, TV-style content that it is branching out to film – the creative wing of the ecommerce giant announced today that it will begin producing and acquiring original movies both for theatrical release, and for early window availability on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

What that means is that Amazon’s own original movies, which are intended to be released in theaters first just like major Hollywood films, will come to Amazon Prime Instant Video for streaming just four to eight weeks after their theatrical premiere, instead of 39 to 52 weeks after it first appears on the big screen.

Amazon Studios is starting its production slate “later this year,” with a goal of doing mourned 12 movies every 12 months. Heading up Amazon’s movie department is Ted Hope, who ran the production company behind Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Eat Drink Man Woman and who personally produced American Splendour and many others.

Getting into movies, and theatrical releases in particular, means that Amazon is thinking more broadly than just feeding its own video portal. But can the seller of cheap off-brand iPhone charging cables, groceries and art also go toe-to-toe with Hollywood to produce award-winners and blockbusters? Too soon to tell, but critical acclaim and Golden Globes wins for some of its original TV series suggest it has a fighting chance.