Amazon announces plans to produce and release original feature films
Hollywood has been on the verge of an upheaval in how films are released thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. Both companies have begun to encroach on the television market, winning awards for their series like HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, and at the Golden Globes last week, the series TRANSPARENT. With the surprise hit of THE INTERVIEW via on demand services, it was a question of time as to when we would see streaming as a viable alternative to theatrical release for feature films.
While Netflix has formed deals with Adam Sandler for feature projects and the upcoming release of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: THE GREEN LEGEND via their service, other companies have been falling behind. While the National Association of Theater Owners claim that the release of THE INTERVIEW cost Sony $30 million and say streaming/on demand is not a viable alternative, Amazon has announced they plan to expand their efforts to produce and release 12 original films a year.
“Whereas it typically takes 39 to 52 weeks for theatrical movies to premiere on subscription video services, Amazon Original Movies will premiere on Prime Instant Video in the U.S. just 4 to 8 weeks after their theatrical debut."
Amazon's Prime membership has a wide array of users who simply take advantage of the free shipping on the website. These users have begun to utilize the numerous streaming options Amazon has at their disposal. Including films you cannot get anywhere else will certainly lessen the edge Netflix has on the market. If anything, this move will allow independent films that would otherwise not get wide exposure a much larger window of viewers. This is definitely a win for movie fans.