Amazon to start making its own movies

Amazon is crowdsourcing the creation of original content; the largest Internet retailer hopes the approach will result in more hits and fewer flops than the traditional Hollywood outputs

Like its rival movie provider Netflix Inc, Amazon is developing its own content to supplement movies and TV shows from Hollywood's back catalog. Amazon pays an estimated $1 billion a year to stream programming from others over its Prime Instant Video service.
"Zombies versus Gladiators"
Source: Amazon
Since late 2010, the company's Hollywood studio, Amazon Studios, has let aspiring screenwriters and film makers upload thousands of scripts to its website. It has an exclusive, 45-day option to buy movie scripts for $200,000 and TV series for $55,000. It can also pay $10,000 to extend options for 18 months.

Instead of green-lighting a feature-length film or TV pilot, Amazon first helps develop the scripts it options into trial videos. It posts these online to solicit reviews and feedback from its millions of customers. Writers use the feedback to adjust scripts, hoping to boost the chances of creating a hit when Amazon spends millions of dollars turning projects into full movies or TV shows. Bringing market research to the creative process is nothing new; Hollywood tests movies with focus groups all the time. But it is not done on such an open, large scale as Amazon's approach.

Amazon hopes that this practice will result in fewer box office bombs.

Amazon Studios currently has 21 movie projects and nine TV projects in development which will be made for theatrical release - Amazon has a deal that gives Warner Bros. Pictures the first crack at bringing them to the big screen. Any TV series will be distributed on Amazon's video streaming platform as exclusive shows, according to Price.

Will Amazon's foray onto Hollywood's turf prove successful?


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