Amazon to produce its own movies (many in 4K) for theatrical and digital release

by on January 20, 2015

Stephan Jukic – January 20, 2015

In a Monday press release, Amazon Inc. claimed that it would soon begin producing and acquiring feature movies for both theatrical release and, later, streaming to the Amazon Prime Instant Video service about one to two months after initial theatrical release.

The company also says that one of its main goals with this new plan is to reduce the amount of time between theatrical debut and digital release online (streaming) from the more usual 52 weeks to just 39. Amazon furthermore claims that they plan on producing roughly 12 movies per year, an impressive figure for a company whose main business isn’t even film production.

Amazon’s new production and release model for feature movies is expected to be a major challenge for the entertainment industry, whose entire system is based on long time-frames between movie release and eventual availability in home viewing mediums.

And on top of challenging major studios, Amazon is also going into direct competition with other streaming media rivals like Netflix with this move. Netflix, just like Amazon, also offers its own streaming media service and is also producing its own feature films for distribution through that service. Many of the Netflix offerings will also be in 4K.

Amazon and Netflix producing original feature movies in 4K

Amazon’s plans to produce and release new original feature films put the company in direct competition with Netflix, which is doing the same

In a recent email sent to the New York Times, the vice president of Amazon, Roy Rice, explained that the movies his company will make are what could be called “indie” flicks, with budgets that fall between $5 million and $25 million per movie, well below the average amount spent on making and promoting a major Hollywood film. Amazon’s announcement also comes right in the wake of a recent Golden Globe award that the company earned for a dark comedy TV series of theirs called Transparent, which is about a family whose dad reveals himself to be transgender.

We can also take Amazon’s film-making credibility seriously thanks to the fact that renowned movie director Woody Allen recently made a deal with them for the creation of his own first television series.

So far, there are four major series that will be released by Amazon in 2015. These consist of “Bosch, Hand of God”, “Red Oaks”, a second season of Golden Globe winner “Transparent” and a kids series called “Wishenpoof!”.

Given that Amazon had promised since mid-2014 to film all of its upcoming series and films in 4K resolution, we can safely assume that the company’s new films and TV shows will all be available sooner or later in full ultra HD on the Instant Video service, along with the existing line-up of 4K shows and movies.

The Amazon move in the direction of more streaming content is just one part of a broader trend by other broadcasters in the same direction. Dish has recently announced its own streaming service, called SlingTV, which also features 12 stations and HBO is planning on soon offering a standalone streaming platform for the spring of 2015.

With these other services, we can also soon look forward to at least a partial roster of content emerging in 4K resolution, as the technology becomes ever more popular with online content.

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