Why Amazon Is Releasing Movies Into Theaters, First

Manchester by the sea on Amazon

While there are a variety of streaming options available for subscribers to choose from, there are a few that have emerged as bigger favorites, for different reasons. A lot of these streaming services have gotten into original content, and over the past couple of years Amazon and Netflix in particular have emerged as key players in the creation of original movies. There is one big difference, however. Netflix's movies go straight to the subscription streaming service, while Amazon's movies do get a theatrical release, first. Here's why Amazon's Roy Price says the service's movies are going to the big screen, first:

I think customers appreciate the opportunity to see films in a cinema where you get a full theatrical experience, and we want to create that opportunity for customers. And also... a lot of people who became filmmakers, they want people to have the opportunity to see their film as intended in the full experience.

As Roy Price is noting, it's not just filmmakers who want to see their movies in a theater setting, but that a lot of Amazon customers still want to see the movie with the full cinema experience. In a lot of ways, it sounds like a win-win situation. Taking this a step further, Roy Price also notes at MIPTV that perceptions have also played a lot into Amazon's decision, as a lot of people only think of a movie as a real movie--as opposed we're assuming to a TV movie--if it has gotten that theatrical release. Roy Price also says that theatrical releases help with reviews, general knowledge and more:

Once the movie comes on the service having been in theaters, I think there is a perception that it's a legit movie: It was reviewed, and it was in a theater -- it's like, a movie. It helps with customer perception, it helps with filmmakers, so we're very supportive of the theatrical window.

Amazon has really been pushing for good critical reception with its original movies, and the company did get that with Manchester By The Sea, which was nominated and won awards at a lot of big ceremonies, including the Oscars where it nabbed statues for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay. Amazon's philosophy is in sharp contrast to Netflix, which has shelled out quite a bit of money for its own movie originals. However, movies from Adam Sandler and a whole slew of other movies in the works, like Will Smith's Bright, are heading straight to Netflix rather than giving people the chance to catch the flicks in theaters first.

There may be room for both philosophies on the market, and Amazon has already proven its model, at least in terms of earning prestige, with the aforementioned Manchester By The Sea. At MipTV (via Deadline) the studio also shared that it would like to produce at least 15 movies a year, and the company wants those movies to be films people care about. We'll have to wait and see what happens over the long haul, but we'll keep you posted every step of the way.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.