'Spartacus' Now 'Prime' Entertainment in Germany17 Jun, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
The battle for subscription streaming in Europe is taking a step back — all the way to 73 AD.
Amazon Instant Video Germany and Starz Digital Media June 17 announced a license agreement enabling Prime members in the country access to the first two seasons of “Spartacus,” in addition to the six-part prequel Gods of the Arena. Season three of “Spartacus” will be available in 2015.
Amazon is upping its European subscription streaming profile in anticipation of Netflix’s rollout of service in France, Germany, Belgium and Spain later this year.
“Spartacus” is based on the life of the Thracian soldier turned gladiator hero who trains at the school of Batiatus and eventually leads a slave rebellion that almost brings down the Roman Republic.
In the first season, Spartacus was played by the late Welsh/Australian actor Andy Whitfield. When the actor became ill from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, shooting for season 2 could not be continued. To give Andy time to recover, Spartacus: Gods of the Arena was developed, which focused on Batiatus (John Hannah), his wife Lucrecia (Lucy Lawless) and their champion gladiator, Gannicus (Dustin Clare). In season two of “Spartacus,” Australian actor Liam McIntyre assumed the lead role following Whitfield’s death in 2011.
“'Spartacus' is a great enhancement for our strong offering of 13,000 titles at Prime Instant Video,” Christoph Schneider, head of Amazon Instant Video Germany, said in a statement. “Thanks to the cooperation with Starz Digital Media, we offer customers a visually stunning TV show with outstandingly choreographed fight scenes.”
The first two seasons as well as the six-part prequel of "Spartacus" are now available on www.amazon.de/aiv-info.
Separately, Starz unit Anchor Bay Home Entertainment in the United States Sept. 16 will release Spartacus: The Complete Series boxed set on Blu-ray Disc, plus Digital HD and UltraViolet at $149.99. A DVD boxed set without Digital HD will retail for $119.98.
The boxed sets feature all 39 episodes, in addition to bonus features "Spartacus Fan Favorites With Liam McIntyre," "Scoring a Hit: Composer Joseph LoDuca," "An Eye Full: Roger Murray," "Spartacus: Paul Grinder" and "The Last Word: John Hannah."