Amazon Looks at Making a Dozen Theatrical Movies Every Year

A box of popcorn on its side with popcorn and a phone reading "prime video" spilling out of it.

Amazon reportedly wants to see its logo on the big screen in 2023.
Photo: Ink Drop (Shutterstock)

Amazon must be feeling its cash burning a hole in its voluminous pockets even as the tech downturn has pummeled $1 trillion from its stock value. And even though the company is potentially kicking thousands of employees to the curb over the next few months, the tech and e-commerce giant wants to see its name up in lights as the projectors roll.

Bloomberg says they talked with anonymous sources who say they’re aware of Amazon’s planned strategy. That alleged strategy includes making between 12 to 15 theatrically released movies next year. Such an endeavor would necessitate more than $1 billion a year. As per Bloomberg’s reporting, Amazon will look toward a smaller theatrical release schedule next year, but if that proves successful they would ramp it up over time.

Essentially, Amazon wants to jump from the choppy waters that is digital streaming and headlong into the typhoon of full scale-theatrical movie production companies, which is the opposite direction that other big budget production companies have been heading. Paramount, Disney and more have their own streaming networks, but those services have been getting more expensive for consumers as of late.

Amazon acquired MGM in 2021 for a little under $9 billion, something that U.S. regulators have had a keen interest in since. That acquisition does come with a good number of major titles like James Bond, though Bloomberg noted the company is still looking for somebody to head the film business up after MGM’s top two executives left last year.

Amazon reportedly spent around $715 million making Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, making it one of the most expensive shows ever produced, and is three quarters of what Amazon would reportedly spend every year. A few years ago, Amazon acquired The Big Sick for $12 million and Manchester by the Sea for $10 million, then helped give them theatrical releases. Those films did have moderately positive returns compared to their production cost and sale, though they certainly weren’t blockbusters.

Movie-goers have been relatively slow to return to theaters after they welcomed guests back following pandemic-related closures. Bloomberg says U.S. ticket sales are down more than 33% from 2019. Perhaps people got too comfortable being able to watch movies from the comforts of their own homes. If Amazon’s alleged plans to hit the big screen come to fruition, it’ll be interesting to see whether its movies draw Top Gun: Maverick-like success to get people to leave their homes, or whether a lot of folks will continue to wait for the movies to come to them.