Amazon Studios to Shift Strategy From Indies to $50 Million-Plus ‘Commercial’ Movies (Report)

Move comes after ouster of studio boss Roy Price and on eve of Sundance Film Festival

Amazon Jeff Bezos
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Amazon Studios is switching up its game plan: Indie movies are out, bigger projects are in.

The tech behemoth will be aiming for more “commercial” films that can appeal to large audiences, according to a new report from Reuters citing unnamed sources who said that the company would target movies with budgets closer to $50 million, rather than $5 million as it has in recent years.

Amazon Studios did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

The shift in strategy comes on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival, a place where Amazon Studios has made waves in the past for its deals; two years ago, the studio shelled out $10 million for the domestic rights to “Manchester by the Sea.”

It continued the trend last year, making five high-profile buys of Sundance premieres, including $6 million for a Grateful Dead documentary and another $12 million for “The Big Sick,” with the Judd Apatow-produced comedy grossing an impressive $42.8 million at the domestic box office.

The company also bought the prison drama “Crown Heights,” the dramedy “Landline,” and the ISIS documentary “City of Ghosts.”

Targeting films with broad appeal would also help Amazon drive more Prime memberships, its paid shopping service with perks, Reuters noted. The plan is to use its studio wing to funnel customers back into the Amazon ecosystem, where they’ll buy more gadgets, books and toilet paper.

The strategic shift also follows the ouster of Roy Price, who had led the studio since its inception in 2010 but resigned in October following accusations of sexual misconduct. His replacement has not been named.

According to the report, Amazon has no current plans to move into full “blockbuster territory” in terms of theatrical release. But the company’s TV division has stepped up its spending on a higher-profile projects, including a $250 million deal for a “Lord of the Rings” series.

The report adds Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos believes it will be “business as usual” for its studio at Sundance, with the company aiming for multi-million dollar deals with movies poised for theatrical releases.