Amazon Studios to cut back on indie films in programming shift: Sources

Amazon.com, which has made waves in recent years buying art-house movies at the Sundance Film Festival, is usually heading to the prestigious event that will week having a long-term change within the works: the item plans to shift resources through independent films to more commercial projects, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The move reflects a brand-new phase within the online retailer’s entertainment strategy. Initially, Amazon worked on high-brow movies that will would likely win awards, put the item on the map in Hollywood as well as help the item attract top talent.

today, Amazon wants programming aimed at a far wider audience as the item pursues its central business goal: persuading more people to join its video streaming service as well as shopping club Prime.

The change within the movie strategy parallels a similar shift in Amazon Studios’ TV operation, which is usually also moving to bigger-budget fare.

Amazon expects to go after films with budgets within the $50 million range at the expense of indie projects costing around $5 million, one person familiar with the plans said on the condition of anonymity. Another person confirmed the overall strategy, adding that will the Culver City, California, studio is usually still working out the details on how much of its film budget will go to these bigger releases.

Amazon declined to comment.

The course change comes after Roy cost, who led Amazon Studios through its inception in 2010 as well as was a champion of projects with awards potential, resigned in October. Albert Cheng, the studio’s chief operating officer, has stepped in as interim head as well as is usually in charge of television projects, while Vice President Jason Ropell runs the film division. Both report to Jeff Blackburn, a Seattle-based senior vice president who wields broad authority at the company.

the item is usually unclear who will permanently replace cost.

On the film side, Amazon is usually not moving all the way into blockbuster territory. The TV group had offered $250 million just for the rights to a fantasy prequel series of “The Lord of the Rings,” according to people familiar with the matter. that will is usually a far more expensive project, representing a bigger change in direction than what the movie division is usually considering, one source said.

Nor is usually Amazon abandoning indie films entirely. nevertheless industry sources are unsure how active the company will be at Sundance that will year. The festival’s lineup is usually not believed to have a standout like “Manchester by the Sea,” which Amazon bought at Sundance for $10 million as well as which went on to win two Oscars. Amazon as well as rival Netflix in general have pushed up prices for such prestige fare.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, recently told at least one industry executive that will the item is usually business as usual at the movie studio, a person familiar with the matter said. At Sundance, that will could mean multi-million-dollar deals for films destined for theaters, as well as smaller deals by a separate team — Amazon Video Direct — that will offers more modest payments for a project’s online streaming rights.

Still, several filmmakers were surprised recently when the studio turned away a handful of projects with budgets up to $6 million, which they believed fit the mold of Amazon’s 2017 hit “The Big Sick,” another person familiar with the matter said.

the item was not immediately clear if their rejection was due to Amazon’s brand-new priorities.

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