After failing to break even on several major investments during the past year and a half, Amazon has decided to take a different approach under the leadership of Amazon Studios' Jennifer Salke. Salke began in March after Roy Price stepped down amid sexual harassment accusations. The company plans to refocus on a variety of movies, some of which will go straight to its streaming service, Prime Video, rather than limit itself to films it hopes will receive critical acclaim.
Following its decision to begin self-releasing films in theaters in 2017, Amazon failed to bring in as much money as it had hoped for movies like Woody Allen's "Wonder Wheel." The movie cost $25 million to make, according to the Times, but made only $1.4 million in North America. Salke confirmed to the Times that Amazon does not plan to release any further movies by Allen following a lawsuit he filed against the company alleging breach of contract. Allen claimed that the company ended its deal without cause after previously reported sexual assault allegations against him were brought back into the limelight.
Salke told the Times she plans to pursue different "lanes" in film, including award-seeking films and "sexy date-night movies" that will go straight to streaming. She plans to debut about 30 original movies a year with budgets ranging from a few million dollars to over $50 million, the Times reported Monday.
Amazon will continue to seek exclusive theater runs for about 10 movies a year, the company told the Times, including the upcoming "The Aeronauts," starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. As it does so, it will consider offering the exclusivity for shorter periods of time to bring the movies to its streaming platform more quickly, the Times said. Netflix has faced headwinds with this same strategy, with AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas refusing to show Academy Award best picture nominee "Roma" because it would not grant the traditional 90 days of exclusivity to the theaters.
Read the full report at The New York Times.