Amazon will spend $1 billion per year on theatre releases

Interior of movie theater with empty red seats and projector. Horizontal shot

Amazon plans to spend more than $1 billion per year to produce movies that will release in theatres, which is its biggest commitment to the format to date. According to people familiar with the matter, the world’s largest online retailer wants to release between 12 and 15 movies per year that will be released to the box office.

Read: Bandwidth Blog & Smile 90.4FM Tech Tuesday: Twitter Chaos

It will start to release a small number of movies to theatres in 2023, and ramp that up slowly as its productions get underway. The number of films Amazon is aiming to release in theatres put it on par with large industry players like Paramount Pictures. Amazon will still focus a lot of its resources on its Prime Video streaming service, but it and similar streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and others have changed the operating rhythms in theatres. Films tend to be exclusively in theatres for much less time than in the past, after which it is released on streaming services to get more eyes on it.

Netflix, specifically, has damaged the theatre industry significantly according to the movie chains. They are releasing more than a movie a week for viewers at home, which means less people tend to go out to watch the latest films in theatres. Amazon has been more open to theatres than Netflix, but has yet to invest as much money in original movies. While Netflix releases close to 100 movies a year, Amazon puts out just a couple dozen.

Amazon, like many other tech businesses, are laying off large complements of its staff this year. However, it is still investing large sums of money in industries it sees opportunity for growth, including ramping up its investment in original movies following the $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM. MGM’s two top film executives, Michael DeLuca and Pam Abdy, left Amazon just a month after it acquired the company, and Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke has been looking for an executive to run the film business.