Amazon to Produce Original Movies for Online, Theatrical Release

Ted Hope to lead creative as Head of Production, Amazon Original Movies

Amazon is getting into the movie business, the company announced Monday.

Amazon Studios will start this year producing original movies for theatrical releases and early window distribution for Amazon Prime Instant users. The online network vows to bring movies to Amazon four to eight weeks after their theatrical release as opposed to the typical 39 to 59 weeks on other subscription video services.

“We look forward to expanding our production efforts into feature films. Our goal is to create close to twelve movies a year with production starting later this year,” said Roy Price, Vice President, Amazon Studios.

“Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

The announcement comes a week after Amazon Studios and Woody Allen partnered for his first TV series. It’s been a strong 2015 so far for Amazon Studios: Jeffrey Tambor, star of Amazon’s transgender-based series “Transparent,” won the Best Actor in a TV Series-Comedy or Musical Golden Globe while “Transparent” won Best TV Comedy or Musical.

Couple the awards momentum with the Allen TV deal and original movie push, and it’s clear Amazon is increasing the pressure on top streaming competitors Netflix and Yahoo.

“Audiences already recognize that Amazon has raised the bar with productions in the episodic realm, tackling bold material in unique ways and collaborating with top talent, both established and emerging. To help carry the torch into the feature film world for such an innovative company is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility,” said Ted Hope, the new Head of Production for Amazon Original Movies. “Amazon Original Movies will be synonymous with films that amaze, excite, and move our fans, wherever customers watch. I am incredibly thrilled to be part of this.”