Amazon Swaps Indie Films For Bigger Fare

Recently Amazon changed its strategy for TV series, opting to forgo niche programming for limited audiences and instead focus on bigger-budgeted fare with a more global appeal to them.

That meant less of the smaller shows they’ve been doing like the just cancelled “I Love Dick” and “One Mississippi” and a re-focus on the kind of successful worldwide fare that rivals are blossoming with such as “Game of Thrones,” “Outlander,” “Stranger Things” and “The Walking Dead”.

Reuters today reports that the company is now bringing that same strategy to its film division. In recent years the online retailer has made big waves at Sundance and other film festivals and film markets by spending big to acquire arthouse films and the kind of indie fare that doesn’t get much of a theatrical release. In two cases it resulted in big wins with “Manchester by the Sea” in 2016 and “The Big Sick” last year.

But in a lot of other cases, the films simply vanished. Now the trade reports that the company plans to shift resources from independent films that win awards to more commercial projects in an effort to persuade more people to join its video streaming service and shopping club Prime.

This means Amazon is expecting to go after films with mid-sized budgets, around the $50 million range, at the expense of indie projects costing around $5 million. Their sources say the studio is still working out the details on how much of its film budget will go to these bigger releases, and they’re only cutting back on indie films – not entirely eliminating them.

The change comes after Roy Price, who led Amazon Studios from 2010 and was a big champion of acquiring high-brow smaller projects with awards potential, resigned in October. It is unclear who will permanently replace Price.