The revolution won’t be televised — it’ll be available for streaming with an Amazon Prime subscription. But to drive consumers there in the first place the eCommerce giant knows it has to attach itself to more serious star power, especially when it comes to Hollywood names.
According to Hollywood Reporter, Amazon is gravely serious about doing just that. The retailer’s recent deal to acquire famed actor-writer-director Woody Allen’s next untitled movie included a deal that paid Allen $15 million upfront without seeing a lick of test reels or teaser films. Moreover, Amazon will end up paying north of $20,000 when all the marketing is done for the movie, making the total cost for Amazon four times what Sony Pictures Classics paid for Allen’s last movie, “Irrational Man.”
Taken on its own, $15 million for a director like Allen can seem excessive for his current niche appeal. However, The Verge explained that in relation to other recent investments in the movie entertainment industry — $10 million from Amazon for “Manchester By The Sea” and $12 million from Netflix for “Beasts of No Nation” — a picture appears that has Amazon backing credible indie projects over blockbuster names, production and stories favored by traditional media companies and some of its chief competitors in the streaming space. By overvaluing movies and TV shows that might appeal to a critical audience, Amazon might hope to wrest this demographic away from Netflix, Hulu, HBO and any other new media enterprise that wants to enter the wide-open scene.
At the very least, Amazon can try to capitalize on the surge in traffic seen when movies like these are released. “Beasts of No Nation” received 3 million streams in 10 days, and “Ridiculous Six,” an Adam Sandler movie backed by Netflix, set the record for most Day 1 views for a digital-only release.
Those records are enough to chase alone, even if Allen delivers Amazon 90 minutes of Benny Hill music and doleful looks.