Following reports last week that Amazon had signed up Woody
Ted Hope, a staple of the film industry and one of the few people to constantly drive creative and commercial endeavours together, is the man Amazon have picked to head up their Original Movies arm. He is tasked with acquiring and producing films for a cinematic, then digital release.
Amazon have had great success, mirroring that of close rival Netflix, with their TV series Alpha House and the Golden Globe winner Transparent as their leading lights.
What this means for the consumer is that the films produced and acquired under Hope’s oversee will debut in cinemas and then appear on their home services four to eight weeks following. This closing of the theatrical window will no doubt put pressure on other studios while some, Disney for example, may welcome this new move and seek to match it.
One of Hope’s previous credits includes Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which, in a strange twist of fate, is the film whose forthcoming sequel Netflix have acquired to premiere on their services the same day as a limited IMAX release.
Let us be clear – this is all about Amazon grabbing more people for their services, and having bowdlerised LOVEFiLM into little more than a shopfront this new move may end up focusing less on the cinematic side of things. Many cinemas in the US refused to show Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 when Netflix’s plans were announced, and perhaps something similar will happen here.
Hope however is an apposite name. His latest blog post contains a paean to the importance of film as a life-changing source.
Time to stop thinking of film as just an entertainment. Movies change people and they can change the world. Let’s celebrate this utility inherent in our art and business.
It will be interesting to see where Netflix goes now. The gauntlet has once again be hurled ahead and if we get to see more original voices in cinemas, as they were meant to be see, then we are the ultimate beneficiaries.