Amazon ups the ante with Netflix, aims to release up to 30 movies a year

Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke, who has had the job for a year now, recently shared that Amazon will be stepping up its content competition with Netflix, but with a more conservative approach. “We don’t want our customers to have an endless scroll,” Salke told The Hollywood Reporter, in a jab at Netflix’s seemingly boundless budget for original productions. “We want to be much more curated and pointed about what we’re putting up on the service, what we’re putting out theatrically.” Curated and pointed or not, the approach is still going to yield an impressive number of titles — as many as 30 per year, at a cost that definitely feels Netflix-esque.

Amazon Studios reportedly spent $47 million at the Sundance Film Festival this year, to acquire just five movies, including Late Night, Brittany Runs a Marathon and The Report. It’s an investment level that catapulted the studio to a record for a single company at the festival, and more than doubled the amount attributed to Netflix’s purchases at the event.

Salke also revealed something of the release strategy behind Amazon’s investments. Some movies will go the traditional theatrical release route, followed by a home release after 90 days, but other titles will be treated differently. “There could be 20 direct-to-service movies managed within a given year,” she said. These movies will likely follow some very specific formulas, like romantic stories, or low-budget horror flicks. Jason Blum, the mastermind behind the Paranormal Activity franchise of cheap, but reliable thrills, has an eight-movie deal with Amazon, all of which will be headed straight to Amazon Prime Video. Nicole Kidman has been tapped to star in a series of “date-night” movies. The young adult category is also going to be a big focus for the direct-to-service effort, so it wouldn’t surprise us to see Amazon get behind the whoever creates the next Maze Runner, Divergent, or Hunger Games franchise.

Could Amazon also be the future home of a major Hollywood franchise, like the James Bond movies? “Totally. I mean, look at Lord of the Rings,” Salke responded, making a point of mentioning the highly anticipated episodes that are apparently subject to enormous security measures, like fingerprint scanners. “We get behind a franchise in a major way.”

Movies & TV

How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

With each film, Laika Studios pushes the bar higher for stop-motion animation. We explore Laika's latest techniques for its new adventure, Missing Link, which the studio it calls a Kaleidoscopic travelogue that ranks as its most ambitious…
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Cars

Amazon and Kia team up to simplify EV home-charging station installs

Kia Motors announced a new program with Amazon for electric vehicles. Customers planning to purchase a new Kia EV or PHEV can check out recommended Level 2 240-volt home charging stations and arrange installation in their homes.
Computing

Limited-time Amazon deal knocks up to $200 off the thin, light Acer Swift 5

Looking for a new laptop? The online retailer Amazon is currently discounting the Acer Swift 5 and several other popular Acer products by up to $200, but only through the end of today, March 14.  
Movies & TV

Disney Plus: Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming streaming service

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Home Theater

Need to get rid of an unused Netflix profile? Just follow these simple steps

Need to delete an unwanted profile from your Netflix account? It's easy to do, no matter what kind of equipment you've got. Check out our handy how-to guide for step-by-step instructions.
Home Theater

You can now watch four PlayStation Vue streams at once on a single Apple TV

PlayStation Vue subscribers can now watch March Madness in style via Apple TV, which can now stream up for four separate games to your TV at once, making it easy to catch all the on-court action.
Home Theater

Apple's Airpods 2 could be released as early as this week

Apple may release new AirPods in the first half of 2019. A wireless charging case, health sensors, water resistance, and better Siri integration are some of the improvements rumored to be part of the new package.
Deals

Amazon drops price of 65-inch Sony 4K Smart TV by $300 for March Madness

You can get a fantastic 65-inch Sony LED TV for $300 off right now, in what's best described as the perfect TV deal to lead you and your living room into this year's March Madness tournament.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Home Theater

What year is this? Apple might drop a new iPod tomorrow

After two days of surprise hardware releases that have brought us new iPads and iMacs, rumor has it that we may see an update of Apple's iPod as soon as tomorrow, sparking a mixture of nostalgia and curiosity.
Home Theater

Dish TV customers can access up to 13 NCAA March Madness games in 4K

If you're a basketball fan looking to get your fix of NCAA Championship action in 4K, Dish TV will be airing up to 13 of the tournament games in the ultra high-def format, starting on Tuesday.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 teaser proclaims it's almost feeding time in Hawkins

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?