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Amazon to rival Netflix with original movies

Amazon Studios is to begin to produce and acquire original movies for early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Roy Price croppedThe move comes soon after Netflix promised to shake up the “antiquated” movie distribution model by producing and debuting its own films.

Amazon Studios has now followed suit. To this end, the production arm of e-commerce giant Amazon has hired independent film producer Ted Hope, who produced films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (the sequel of which is, ironically, going out exclusively through Netflix).

He will lead a new division, Amazon Original Movies.

Amazon noted theatrical releases typically took between 39 and 52 weeks to premiere on SVOD services, but that its new model would mean movies hitting Amazon Prime Instant Video between four and eight weeks after their US cinema debut.

“We look forward to expanding our production efforts into feature films. Our goal is to create close to twelve movies a year with production starting later this year,” said Roy Price, VP, Amazon Studios (pictured).

“Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie’s theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

Amazon Studios will focus on “unique stories, voices and characters from top and up-and-coming creators”.

The news comes less than a week after Amazon Studios revealed it had closed to deal to secure Woody Allen’s first ever TV project.