Amazon plans to make significant moves as it prepares to dive deeper into the movie business. Although Amazon makes a few original shows and movies for Prime Video, it has, so far, stayed away from theatrical releases. That is set to change as reports have surfaced that Amazon is preparing to invest $1 billion annually for movies that will go straight for a theatrical release.
A report from Bloomberg states that Amazon is preparing to produce 12-15 movies in a year. For 2023, the number of movies that Amazon will have won’t be that high, mainly because they want to test the waters and figure out how to go about things.
Amazon has deepened its investments in original content over the years through its Prime Video streaming unit and its movie and television studios. The company spent $13 billion on content for its video and music streaming services last year, up from $11 billion in 2020, as it looks to remain competitive in the crowded media landscape.
Earlier this year, the e-retailer bolstered its media ambitions when it acquired legendary movie maker MGM Studios for $8.45 billion.
In the past, Jeff Bezos had very categorically said that he wanted Amazon to get into the media and content creation and distribution business, as that would be a great way to get more people to subscribe to Amazon Prime and use more of Amazon’s other web services that go beyond e-commerce.
While a $1 billion annual investment for film development is on the lower end of what major Hollywood studios spend each year, it’s a positive sign for the movie theater business, which has struggled in the wake of the pandemic.
Audiences have returned to cinemas, but because the production pipeline was stalled in 2020 and 2021, fewer movies were released in cinemas in 2022. Blockbuster films continue to drive significant, sometimes record-breaking, domestic box office numbers, but the industry remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels without a steady slate of new and meaningful content.
It will be interesting to see how the budget is allocated and if Indian filmmakers and production houses can get any of the money earmarked for theatrical releases.