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Amazon To Spend $1 Billion A Year Producing Movies For Theatrical Release

E-commerce giant Amazon (AMZN) plans to spend $1 billion U.S. a year to produce movies that it will release in theatres around the world.

The world’s largest online retailer is preparing to produce between 12 and 15 movies annually that it will release theatrically. That number of releases would put Amazon on the same footing as major Hollywood studios such as Paramount Pictures (PARA).

Amazon already runs the Prime Video streaming service and has been more open to theatrical releases of its films than its rival Netflix (NFLX). However, until now, Amazon has not invested much money in original movies for release in theatres.

Amazon is now ramping up its investment in original movies following its $8.5 billion U.S. acquisition of MGM, a Hollywood studio that is nearly 100 years old and owns franchise properties that include the Rocky and James Bond film series.

Amazon has been getting more ambitious with its entertainment content, recently releasing a Lord of the Rings TV series on Prime Video that reportedly cost $300 million to produce.

Movie theatres will likely welcome the new films produced by Amazon. U.S. ticket sales at movie theatres are currently 33% below pre-pandemic 2019 levels, according to box office data.

Amazon’s stock is down 45% this year at $94.13 U.S. per share.