Amazon Studios announces plans to begin spending $1 billion annually on theatrical film production, targeting 12-15 films a year.
Amazon Studios pledges to spend $1 billion a year to produce films that will be released in theaters. The retail giant and its Prime Video streaming service have released several films such as Manchester by the sea, Big sick as well as The sound of metal which received critical acclaim and an Academy Award. While the streaming service initially struggled to compete with Netflix when it came to producing original series, it managed to bring its films to the big screen, with Manchester by the sea exceeded expectations and grossed over $79 million against a $9 million production budget. The studio has since helped create an anthology Welcome to Bloomhouse series of films and the acquisition of a number of projects, including Arrival 2 America, Tomorrow is war as well as No remorse.
Now, Amazon is looking to redouble its efforts to become a serious contender at the box office, allocating $1 billion a year to film production for theaters. Bloomberg reported that this commitment is close to the annual budget of Universal and Warner Bros., indicating Amazon’s interest in direct competition with major studios. The production company’s long-term goals are to release 12 to 15 films a year, which is on par with the average studio’s release schedule. However, Amazon Studios will release only a fraction of that number next year, increasing the number of releases over time.
Amazon’s theater plan is good news for Bond and other MGM franchises
In March 2022, Amazon acquired famed film studio MGM in a massive $8.5 billion deal. This deal not only secured the streaming rights to MGM’s huge catalog of movies and TV shows, but also gives Amazon the right to use any of those properties in future projects. Specifically, it gives Amazon the rights to make the next set of James Bond films, which is likely an important motivator for the acquisition. Daniel Craig is leaving the franchise after 2021. No time to die this is the perfect opportunity for Amazon Studios to make their mark on the iconic franchise.
MGM was one of the original Big Five studios in the early days of Hollywood, responsible for producing some of the most iconic films of all time. From gone With the Wind to rocky to Blonde in law, the studio has been a major player in the industry for almost a century, and its cultural significance is a factor in its acquisition of Amazon Studios. Amazon’s vision to revive MGM is in stark contrast to other streaming services, all of which have been major industry revolutionaries. The studio’s respect for industry tradition may just be a public relations move, but a smart one nonetheless, especially with their new plans to spend $1 billion on theatrical films.
The film distribution industry is still trying to recover from the huge losses cinemas suffered in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic as more people choose to watch movies at home. A push from one of the top streaming content producers could be the push the industry needs. When news of Amazon’s plan to release 15 theaters a year reached Wall Street, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. rose 9.2 percent, while Cinemark Holdings Inc. – by about 12 percent, which was a promising sign of the merging of the two industries. However, Amazon Studios there is a long way to go if they are to bring the industry back to its pre-pandemic state.
Next: Upcoming Movies and TV Shows Amazon to Get with MGM DealSource: Bloomberg.