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Amazon will focus on 'bigger' movies to lure people to Prime

Less art-house, more blockbusters?
Matt Brian, @m4tt
01.18.18 in AV
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Having made its name buying smaller, niche independent projects to build its TV and movie division into a multi-award-winning studio, Amazon plans ramp things up a little moving forward, Reuters reports. According to sources, the company will increase its spending on new films, dedicating as much as $50 million to more commercial projects. Amazon will reportedly reduce the number of art-house movies it buys, which it typically acquires at events like the Sundance Film Festival for figures in the low millions, in its bid to lure more people to Prime and onto its expanding streaming service.

Amazon Studios' shift to movies with a broader appeal mirrors its plans for its TV business, which is also spending big in order to secure big-budget projects. In November 2017, the company confirmed it had acquired the rights to a Lord of the Rings TV series, which may have cost as much as $250 million. Netflix is also spending more on original movies: Will Smith fantasy Bright reportedly cost $90 million.

In order to fund more commercial content, Amazon is likely to scale back but not completely abandon smaller projects. On the TV side, the company recently announced that it had canceled three original comedies: One Mississippi, I Love Dick and Jean-Claude Van Johnson.

All three series were picked up by former Amazon Studios head Roy Price, who recently left the studio following reports of sexual harassment. One Mississippi was also executive produced by Louis CK, who had his second stand up special canceled following similar allegations.

It isn't clear whether Amazon is attempting to distance itself from a disgraced former employee or whether it'll use the money it saves on those projects to bankroll its more popular series. As news hit that the three comedies were on the chopping block, the studio also announced that one of its newer series, The Tick, had been greenlit for a second season.

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