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Amazon is not new to making movies and original content. The company’s Amazon Studios already produces films and TV shows for its Video and Prime services. However, the company is now ready to take a next step and focus on theatrical releases.

Amazon Studios will invest $1 billion each year towards movies that will be direct theatrical releases. While this is obviously important news for Amazon, it is monumental for the theater industry. Streaming has carved the classic cinema industry to pieces.

Blockbusters still do well theatrically, but so-called studio programmers are much more elusive and much less likely to be successful. Amazon investment in the theatrical experience is significant because it is a major streaming disruptor putting faith in the traditional medium.

Bloomberg reports Amazon Studio’s investment will result in 12 to 15 theatrical movies each year. Of course, these movies will eventually still come to Amazon Video as exclusives. It is worth noting this investment is relatively small in relation to how much the company spends on original content.

Ongoing Investments

For example, during 2021 Amazon invested $13 billion in original movies, TV shows, and music content across its streaming services. Earlier this year, the company bought MGM Studios for $8.45 billion.

This is the company behind the James Bond distribution and fans were concerned Amazon would make the franchise streaming exclusive. This new investment eases those concerns as the company is clearly behind theaters.

Amazon says 2023 will be a test year with fewer movies released to assess the appetite of cinema audiences.

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