Amazon head Jeff Bezos at LOTR premiere

Amazon Investing $1 Billion For Theatrical Film Business Sends Cinema Stocks Soaring

Home / News / Amazon Investing $1 Billion For Theatrical Film Business Sends Cinema Stocks Soaring

By Jeffrey Harris on November 26, 2022 at 8:00 PM EST

Amazon looks like it's going to up its theatrical film footprint, and it already appears to be having a positive effect on the cinema exhibition business. Bloomberg reports that Amazon is going to release 12 to 15 movies in theaters, with its local multiplex push looking to start in 2023. The e-commerce giant is planning on spending $1 billion a year for the theatrical film effort.

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Amazon Plans On Spending $1 Billion A Year On Theatrical Entertainment

If the deal moves forward, it would be the largest commitment ever to cinemas by an internet company. Amazon is rumored to still be sorting through its strategy on the effort. Additionally, Amazon is planning to release a smaller number of films in theaters next year and increase that output over time.

The 12 to 15 movie plan would put Amazon on par with other major studios, such as Paramount Pictures. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that an Amazon source said the company is only just starting this theatrical film effort, and the number of titles has not yet been determined.

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Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez at Amazon Prime √úThe Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power' Los Angeles Premiere
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Amazon pursuing the effort makes sense after the company acquired MGM Studios for $8.45 billion. The deal on the acquisition closed earlier this year. THR notes that Amazon is now looking on how to run the studio under its leadership, with plans to continue production of theatrical feature tentpoles.

Bloomberg's initial report saw a positive effect on theatrical exhibitors. Cinemark saw its stock rise 12 percent during afternoon trading on Wednesday, November 23. The world's biggest movie chain, AMC Theatres, also saw its stock price rise five percent this week. IMAX shares rose seven percent, and Cineplex stocks rose 4.5 percent.

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Previously, Cineplex's CEO Ellis Jacob spoke to THR this month that the theatrical chain was in negotiations with Amazon and Apple to bring their movies Cinplex screens.

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Jeff Bezos and ex-wife MacKenzie Scott
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Amazon Studios tried to push Amazon into a theatrical movie effort about a decade ago under then Vice President and Global Head of Prime Video Content, Roy Price, and creative development head Ted Hope. Per Variety, Price resigned from his post in October 2017 after receiving sexual harassment allegations.

THR also notes that major theatrical chains have been increasing their negotiations with streamers and online video content providers now that they are apparently willing to embrace theatrical windows. Previously, it was not uncommon for some films to receive brief theatrical releases before moving to streamers or day-and-date theatrical and streaming releases.

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This appears to be a major change in how streaming giants, such as Amazon and Netflix, work with theatrical exhibitors. As reported by The Blast, AMC Theatres reached a landmark deal with Netflix to release "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" in theaters this month.

Daniel Craig
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With Amazon as both a content creator and the owner of MGM Studios, a renewed theatrical effort to release major features could be beneficial to both Amazon and theatrical businesses as a whole. The theatrical exhibition business took a major hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, Regal Theatre owner, Cineworld, filed for bankruptcy. So, Amazon making this theatrical effort is at least a bit of much-needed positive news.

THR also reports that since Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime have used theaters to market their upcoming films, they are also looking at Netflix to follow the other streamers' leads.

Amazon is more than just an e-commerce company now it's a popular streamer. The company also produced the popular streaming shows "The Boys" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power." As reported by The Blast, Amazon spent about $1 billion just to create "The Rings of Power.

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