Amazon’s first original movie, Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq,” is available to stream on Prime.
While Amazon and Netflix have licensed old movies for ages, both have recently begun aggressive moves into the original film business. The pair went on a buying spree at Sundance, outbidding traditional distributors for indie films.
One source at a theatrical distributor said, “We are shooting bullets, but Netflix and Amazon are using machine guns!”
The companies believe there is a market for niche films that is being underserved by Hollywood. “There are movies that people really want to watch that are no longer being made and no longer being put in movie theatres because studios don’t want to make them anymore,” Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said, according to Vanity Fair.
This sentiment certainly rings true for “Chi-Raq.” When asked why he sold the film to Amazon, Spike Lee replied, “They’re a great company. And also everyone else said no.”
“Chi-Raq” had a theatrical run starting in December and snagged $2.6 million at the domestic box office. But the true test of its worth for Amazon will be how it performs on Prime.
The film is a modern-day rendition of “Lysistrata,” by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, and stars Nick Cannon and Wesley Snipes. In “Chi-Raq,” a gang leader’s girlfriend organizes a sex strike to curb the violence on Chicago’s South Side.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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