Amazon Partners With Spike Lee for First-Ever Original Movie15 Jul, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Amazon Studios July 15 announced that its first original movie, Chi-Raq, wrapped filming in Chicago last week.
Directed by Spike Lee, Chi-Raq is a fictional story centered on the violence in inner-city Chicago. It stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris and Angela Bassett, with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Newcomer Teyonah Parris plays the central lead character.
For Amazon, the movie represents its first effort at a theatrical production following myriad original TV shows, including Golden Globe winning “Transparent.”
It marks the e-commerce giant’s attempt to follow in the footsteps of Netflix’s ambitious theatrical slate, which includes the sequel to 2000 Oscar winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, African warlord thriller Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba and directed by Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective”) launching Oct. 16, and Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six, among others.
While Netflix has upset theater operators with plans to bow theatrically day-and-date with streaming, Amazon remains secretive of its launch strategy.
“For Chi-Raq, and for future projects, we will collaborate with a top-tier theatrical distributor who shares our vision and passion. We will work together to craft bold and distinctive marketing and distribution approaches for all our films,” Bob Berney, head of marketing and distribution at Amazon Studios, said in a statement.
Launched in January, Amazon Original Movies is an initiative to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution exclusively for Prime members. The unit is headed by Ted Hope.