Amazon Studios Acquires Woody Allen's Next Movie

Woody Allen - H 2015
AP Images/Invision

Woody Allen - H 2015

Amazon will open the film this summer with a traditional, nationwide theatrical release.

Amazon Studios continues its foray into the high-profile film space. The streaming giant has acquired North American rights to Woody Allen’s upcoming as-yet-titled feature.

Amazon took rights that include theatrical and streaming by Amazon Studios. It's a major upheaval in the specialty film world considering that Sony Pictures Classics has released Allen's last several films, including Blue Jasmine, for which Cate Blanchett won a best actress Oscar, and Midnight in Paris, which was a best picture nominee. Still, Sony Classics' most recent outing with the famed director, the Joaquin Phoenix-Emma Stone pairing Irrational Man, fell flat at the box office, earning just $4 million domestically.

Allen's latest, which was shot last summer on location in New York and Los Angeles, is a romantic comedy staged in the 1930s and stars Jeannie Berlin, Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Kristen Stewart, Corey Stoll and Ken Stott.

Amazon will open the film this summer with a traditional, nationwide theatrical release. Following its theatrical run, it will become available exclusively to Prime members through Prime Video. A source says the film will not break the three-month theatrical window. The only difference is that Prime customers will be able to view the film faster than any other streaming partner would have been able to pull off.

“Like all beginning relationships, there is much hope, mutual affection and genuine goodwill — the lawsuits come later,” Allen said Thursday in a statement.

Added Amazon Studios head Roy Price: “Woody Allen is a brilliant filmmaker. We’re so proud to be in business with him for both his next film and his first-ever TV series.”

Amazon has been making seismic shifts on the indie film acquisitions front over the past few weeks, having scooped up seven Sundance titles alone. The company's biggest and splashiest buy came via Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea, which it bought for $10 million at the festival, outbidding several traditional buyers that were also in the hunt for the film, which was one of the best reviewed at Sundance.

Amazon already is in business with Allen, who is writing and directing an untitled six-episode TV series for the company that stars himself, Elaine May and Miley Cyrus. It is executive produced by Erika Aronson, produced by Helen Robin and is set to begin shooting next month.

Producers of the new film include Allen’s longtime collaborator Letty Aronson as well as Steve Tenenbaum and Edward Walson. Executive producers are Ronald L. Chez, Adam B. Stern and Marc I. Stern.

The deal was negotiated by John Burnham and Jessica Lacy of ICM Partners, Erika Aronson of Taborlake and Loeb & Loeb on behalf of the filmmakers.