Amazon Studios, which has been busy creating original television series such as Transparent, announced Tuesday it would now be making about 12 feature films a year to be seen in theaters and about four to eight weeks later be streamed on Amazon Prime.
The new venture, called Amazon Original Movies, will be mostly created by "established and emerging talent," according to the company.
“Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run," Roy Price, vice president of Amazon Studios, said, "but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”
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Heading the creative development of Amazon Original Movies is Ted Hope, who produced American Splendor and whose production company produced Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Amazon will start production on the films later this year. While some may see this as Amazon's first foray into theatrical releases, it's really more about creating more exclusive content for its $99 a year streaming service.
Amazon is a media company that is trying to make itself indispensable to its customers. By creating original content, much like a cable channel or Netflix, it's ensuring that its customers will pay for its wares. At $99 a year for Amazon Prime, Amazon has to be competitive. By providing more, such as feature films, it will prove to be the content creator to beat.