Amazon Moves From Film Industry’s Margins to the Mainstream
“Those movies all kept coming out as No. 1,” said Ms. Salke, referring to the films’ performances on Amazon Prime. “Every time we launched one, the next one would eclipse the next one. We were training our audience to know that we would have big original films that were more commercial on Prime Video. It’s a little bit of an ‘If you build it, they will come’ strategy.”
But what happens to that plan once the pandemic is over and studios are no longer willing to sell their movies to streaming platforms?
Amazon has some 34 films in various stages of production around the world, and Ms. Salke said the company was committed to spending upward of $100 million on a production if merited. (Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, is stepping down as the company’s chief executive this year, but the studio isn’t expecting any big changes when Andy Jassy takes the reins.)
The Culver City, Calif., complex is still being built, and, if anything, investment has increased. Ms. Salke points to Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming film about Lucy and Desi Arnaz, starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, as a potential hit. There’s also George Clooney’s film “The Tender Bar,” starring Ben Affleck, and an L.G.B.T.Q. romantic drama, “My Policeman,” featuring Harry Styles and Emma Corrin (“The Crown”).
“The new news is that you will see us embrace some bigger projects going forward that are self-generated,” she said.
In Ms. Salke’s mind, this was always the place where Amazon Film was going to land. And there is a newfound confidence to her outlook as she celebrates her third anniversary as the head of the studio. In addition to her recent acquisition spree, she has made overall content deals with Mr. Jordan and the actor and musician Donald Glover, which she says will reinforce her mission to burnish Amazon’s reputation as a talent-friendly place.
With its healthy subscription base, Amazon is attracting those in Hollywood who are interested in the company’s global reach but also curious about the company’s other businesses that have the potential to expand a star’s brand beyond film and television.