In contrast to traditional movie studios, streaming services either avoid using cinemas altogether or distribute their original films there for a shorter period of time and on fewer screens. By releasing more than one movie every week for viewers at home, Netflix Inc., in particular, has aggravated theater chains. A sequel to Knives Out was released in cinemas on Wednesday by the streaming giant. But it won’t be there for more than a week before moving to streaming the next month. The original film grossed $312.9 million at the box office in 2019.
Compared to Netflix, Amazon has been more accommodating to movie theaters. But it hasn’t yet made as many original film investments. Just a few dozen movies are released by Amazon each year, many of them in languages other than English, compared to nearly 100 by Netflix.
Amazon to invest $1 Billion a year in theatrical releases
Now, according to Bloomberg, Amazon is looking to make a bigger push into the theater market, investing $1 billion per year in movies for theaters. This will be the largest investment in the theater by an internet company. According to the report, Amazon intends to produce between 12 and 15 films per year for theatrical release, beginning with a small number of films in 2023 and gradually increasing over time.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon‘s annual release schedule will compete with major studios such as Paramount Pictures. This is good news for movie theater chains, with AMC stock up 9.2% and Cinemark up an additional 12%. However, theater ticket sales have dropped by more than 33% since 2019, the last year of sales before the pandemic, with cinemas struggling to regain the momentum they had before sales declined.
Amazon Studios had previously had success acquiring films with Manchester by the Sea. It won two Oscars and grossed $78 million at the box office on a $9 million budget. Fortunately, audiences are starting to return to theaters, with Top Gun: Maverick paving the way for this. Studios are attempting to replicate Maverick’s success with a comparable movie after it earned an amazing $1.4 billion and dominated the box office for several months following its debut.
Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder, has also pushed his Hollywood studio to produce and release more mainstream content, which has resulted in recent The Lord of the Rings TV series as well as initiatives like The Terminal List, a Chris Pratt-starring project. Before moving on to movies, all of the streaming services, including Netflix and Apple, put more money into original TV. And theaters will be happy to receive the new Amazon offering whenever it comes.
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