At CinemaCon, Amazon Reiterates Support for Theatrical Window

Aidan Monaghan
Amazon's 'The Lost City of Z'

The company, which released 15 films in the past year, presented its upcoming slate at a lunch in Las Vegas.

Amazon on Thursday hosted its second annual lunch presentation at CinemaCon, showing off new footage from its upcoming slate.

At the Las Vegas presentation, the streaming company (which partners with traditional theatrical distributors to release its films into theaters) emphasized its desire to continue to release its films in theaters ahead of them landing on the streaming service.

“I think we proved to you that we really believe in the theatrical experience by fully supporting the theatrical window for our releases,” said Amazon worldwide head of motion pictures Jason Ropell to applause from the audience of theater owners.

The company has plenty to celebrate: Amazon released 15 films in the past year, and its film Manchester by the Sea won Oscars for best actor (for Casey Affleck) and best original screenplay. It also won the foreign film Oscar for The Salesman.

The distributor's upcoming films include James Grey's The Lost City of Z. Star Charlie Hunnam took the stage to talk about shooting the adventure thriller and the adventures he faced personally on set.

The true-life drama centers on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s. Hunnam lost roughly 35 to 40 pounds during production, he said. The film was shot in 35mm on challenging locations in Colombia.

“We definitely invoked the spirit of exploration,” Hunnam said of shooting Lost City of Z. “At times we would be traveling for two hours to get to a location."

But, he said, the biggest adventure was actually in his hotel room. “I woke up in the middle of the night and a beetle had burrowed in my ear,” related the actor. “I got my Neti Pot and put water in my ear and it slowed it down. And I went back to sleep. When I woke up, it was still moving around in my ear." Eventually the production called an ambulance, and Hunnam had to go to the hospital.

Amazon's head of marketing and distribution Bob Berney ran through the company's upcoming slate, which includes indie comedy Landline; New York-set The Only Living Boy in New York, starring Jeff Bridges; Brad’s Status, starring Ben Stiller; Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel, starring Justin Timberlake and Kate Winslet; and Richard Linklater's Last Flag Flying, starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne.

Berney also shared that Terry Gilliam's long-gestating Don Quixote starring Adam Driver is finally in production.

The exec also highlighted the original productions Amazon has in the works, including Beautiful Boy with Carell; Gus Van Sant's Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot; Nash Edgerton's upcoming film; Todd Haynes' Wonderstuck; and Mike Leigh's Peterloo.

The presentation wrapped with both a trailer and a clip from Amazon's big Sundance acquisition, The Big Sick, starring Kumail Nanjiani from a screenplay he wrote with his wife Emily V. Gordon. It is based on their own true story about a man whose girlfriend goes into a coma.