Amazon says it is planning to spend more than $1 billion a year to produce movies that it will release in theatres, in what is said to be the largest commitment to cinemas by an internet company, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The report, citing people familiar with the matter, said that the tech company plans to make between 12 and 15 movies for theatrical release each year and will start with the production of a smaller number of films in 2023 as Amazon builds up its output. That number of releases would put the company on par with major studios such as Paramount Pictures.
As audiences return to cinemas, and blockbuster films resume significant, sometimes record-breaking, domestic box office numbers after a stall in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, the world’s largest online retailer aims to expand its media business and control a bigger stake in the movie entertainment market.
The company has deepened its investments in original content over the years through its Prime Video streaming unit, as well as its movie and television studios, spending $13 billion on content for its video and music streaming services in 2021, up from $11 billion in 2020. It also acquired legendary movie maker MGM Studios for $8.45 billion as it looks to boost its media ambitions.
While a $1 billion annual investment for film development is on the lower end of what major Hollywood studios spend each year, it will be a confidence boost for the movie theatre business, which has struggled in the wake of the pandemic.