Amazon just signed a 7-figure deal to buy the rights to a movie called "Wiener-Dog," a comedy film directed by Todd Solondz, whose previous work includes "Dark Horse," "Storytelling," and "Welcome to the Dollhouse," according to the Hollywood Reporter Tuesday.
Solondz told the Hollywood Reporter that the film is about "the life of a dog and all the different characters it meets along the way," noting that he was inspired by movies like "Au Hasard Balthazar" and "Benji." The cast includes Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, and Ellen Burstyn.
The report added that Amazon is looking for a theatrical partner to help release it in movie theaters. Typically, these deals include exclusive streaming rights once the theatrical release ends.
It's unclear what prompted Amazon to pick up the "Wiener-Dog" movie, but the deal reflects Amazon's makeover as a serious player in the film industry, just one year after getting into the business.
During this week's Sundance Film Festival, Amazon has been the most aggressive buyer, acquiring 5 movies in total, followed by Netflix, which has bought 3 so far. Meawhile, Amazon's original TV series "Transparent" and "Mozart in the Jungle" have both won Golden Globe awards.
Amazon uses its TV and movie streaming service to help drive sign-ups and renewals for its Prime shopping subscription program. The company spent an estimated $3 billion last year on its streaming music and video services.
The NY Times noted that the fact that online streaming companies are outbidding the more traditional brands also shows how filmmakers are starting to value the reach of streaming services.
“You always want your film to be shown on a big screen with perfect sound and the best projection,” Sian Heder, the director of “Tallulah,” a movie bought by Netflix, told the Times. “But that’s not always the reality anymore. The way that people consume media is changing.”
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