Amazon Makes Waves in Inaugural Upfronts With Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Will Ferrell

Prime Video unveils plans for a “Road House” sequel, a “Legally Blonde” prequel series and a “Tomb Raider” TV adaptation

Reese Witherspoon-Jake Gyllenhaal-Will-Ferrell
Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Will Ferrell appeared at Amazon's inaugural upfront presentation (Amazon)

Amazon’s inaugural upfront presentation established the streamer amongst the ranks of its competitors as Prime Video brought out formidable star power and lucrative new TV and film orders on Tuesday morning.

As advertisers and press gathered in New York City’s Pier 36, they were greeted by flashy themed installations — including those centered around Twitch and Prime Video releases “Road House,” “Fallout,” “The Summer I Turned Pretty” and the upcoming “Beast Games” — as well as a performance from Alicia Keys, who kicked off the day by singing “Empire State of Mind.”

The streamer took note from networks’ traditionally star-studded presentations to welcome “Road House” star Jake Gyllenhaal, who revealed plans for a “Road House” sequel; Hannah Waddingham and Octavia Spencer, who teased their still untitled action-adventure series; Patton Oswalt, who will host upcoming game show “The 1% Club;” and Reese Witherspoon and Will Ferrell, who unveiled a first look at their R-rated romcom, “You’re Cordially Invited.”

Witherspoon then returned to the stage to announce the streamer had granted a series order to a new “Legally Blonde” prequel show, titled “Elle,” which will follow Elle Woods as a high school student in the ’90s. The cast of YA adaptation “The Summer I Turned Pretty” also took the stage to announce Season 3 would be coming in summer 2025 with a supersized 11-episode installment, while author and series creator Jenny Han revealed she would direct her first episode of TV this season.

In addition to “Elle,” new series orders announced at the upfront presentation include Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Tomb Raider,” a new Nicolas Cage-led series “Noir,” which is based on Marvel comic book “Spider-Man Noir,” a new game show focused on pop culture “Jeopardy!” and unscripted shows led by JB Smoove and Nick Cannon, as well as four sports documentaries.

Prime Video also announced renewals for “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” Season 2, “The Boys” Season 5, “Cross” Season 2 ahead of the series premiere, “Coach Prime” Season 3, and unveiled trailers for anticipated upcoming projects, including “The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power,” sports documentary “Federer: Twelve Final Days” and “The 1% Club.”

Prime Video executives pointed to recent successes for the platform, including “Fallout,” which has secured 80 million viewers worldwide since launching on April 10, and Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine’s film “The Idea of You,” which has brought in 60 million viewers worldwide since its May 2 release.

Beyond the streamer’s original programming, SVP of Amazon ad sales Mike Hopkins called Prime Video a “one-stop shop entertainment destination,” pointing to the over 500 FAST channels and partnerships with other streaming services — including Max, Crunchyroll and Paramount+ — available to subscribers. 

“We’ve been building Prime Video into a one-stop entertainment destination, the first place people go to find the programming they love,” Hopkins said. “And now with your partnership, we’re building a one-stop advertising destination as well.”

In January, Prime Video launched its ad-supported tier, which serves as the default for all subscribers. Users can pay an extra $2.99 per month for an ad-free experience. Currently, Amazon Prime, which includes Prime Video, costs $14.99 per month or $139 a year. A membership that only includes Prime Video and none of the company’s shipping benefits costs $8.99 a month. The offering helped boost Amazon’s overall ad revenue by 24% year over year in its first quarter of 2024 to $11.8 billion and is available to more than 200 million monthly viewers, including 115 million in the United States.  

Take a look at the themed installations from the Amazon upfront presentation, below:

A NASCAR racecar at Prime Video’s inaugural Upfront (Courtesy of Lucas Manfredi/TheWrap)
Fallout-themed installation at Prime Video Upfront (Courtesy of Lucas Manfredi/TheWrap)
Mr. Beast themed installation at Prime Video Upfront (Courtesy of Lucas Manfredi/TheWrap)
Road House installation at Prime Video Upfront (Courtesy of Lucas Manfredi/TheWrap)
The Summer I Turned Pretty installation at Prime Video Upfront (Courtesy of Lucas Manfredi/TheWrap)

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