Amazon.com Inc. has always been innovative and forward-thinking. They started out as an online book store at the beginning of the dot-com craze, before expanding into music and then everything else you could ever think of, including socks for your dad’s birthday.
Then came the Kindle which has acted as a self-publishing solution for many struggling writers. And now they don’t just sell movies – they make them too.
The e-commerce monolith revealed plans earlier this week to actually make their own movies, with production about to begin sometime soon. The aim is to release 12 movies a year which are to get screened at cinemas worldwide.
Amazon Original Movies, as it will be known, follows the success of Amazon’s foray into television, with its original comedy series, Transparent, scooping a Golden Globe last week for best comedy series, whilst Woody Allen confirmed in the same week that he would be writing and directing a brand new comedy series for the American company later this year.
The aim of Amazon Original Movies is to give a platform to new, untapped film-making talent that are otherwise ignored by the more mainstream-orientated Hollywood. Indie film producer, Ted Hope, will lead creativity at Amazon Original Movies, a man perhaps best known for his work producing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Independent movies certainly have their audience, with the likes of Garden State, Half Nelson and Napoleon Dynamite being American successes in recent years.
There is hope that Amazon can make a dent with a bigger clutch of American independent movies to breathe fresh life into a genre that has appreciation for its imagination and for being an alternative to Hollywood, but which has suffered in recent years from lack of investment.
But the real innovation here is the fact that, unlike normal movies that can take up to a year to switch from the big screen to DVD and subscription services, Amazon’s films will hit their instant video service, Prime, just 4-8 weeks after their theatrical release.
This represents a significant shake-up to the way movies get distributed.