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OLD SCHOOL

Amazon is acting more and more like a traditional movie studio

Flickr/Kenneth Lu/CC2.0
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  • Ashley Rodriguez
By Ashley Rodriguez

Reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Amazon Studios, the film arm of the e-commerce behemoth Amazon, is making an old-school play that might give it an advantage over streaming rivals such as Netflix, which are also breaking into the movie business.

The five-year-old studio is planning to abide by a long-time industry convention that it shirked in the past. It will wait 90 days after releasing its films in theaters before making them available on streaming, Mashable reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter. Amazon did not immediately respond to Quartz’s request to confirm this report, but we will update this post with any reply.

That 90-day stretch is the standard window studios and distributors in Hollywood agree to wait before a film goes to home release. It’s designed to deter people from skipping theaters and waiting for a film to be available in their living room, which strengthens the film’s cinema run and protects the movie-theater business.

Amazon ignored industry conventions with its first feature film, Chi-Raq, which was released on its Prime video streaming platform just two months after it hit the big screen. It had a decent run—bringing in an estimated $2.7 million from 305 theaters during that time—but the company might be able to gross more and attract better filmmakers with a longer theater run.

Streaming rival Netflix, meanwhile, got crushed at the box office when it blatantly disregarded the waiting period, and released Beasts of No Nation online the same day it hit in theaters.

Amazon plans to release several of its upcoming films across major theater chains for 90-day periods, during which time it will collect half the box-office earnings just like traditional movie studios, Mashable reported. Then it will release them exclusively on Prime for a time, before selling and renting them elsewhere.

The report did not say which upcoming Amazon titles will be affected, but the release windows will be customized for each film. Some—like Creative Control, which hits theaters this weekend—are still expected to have shorter cinema runs.

Mainstream Hollywood studios such as Paramount have struck similar deals with theaters to allow release windows to fit the films, and not the other way around.

Feature image by Kenneth Lu at Flickr, licensed under CC2.0.

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