Ted Hope Exits Amazon Studios Post, Signs First-Look Deal

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Ted Hope

The veteran indie producer is stepping down as co-head of motion picture production.

Ted Hope is exiting his post at Amazon Studios.

Hope will step down as the studios' co-head of movies and sign a multiyear, first-look deal with the streamer. He also will consult on several films planned for release in 2020 and produce select projects on Amazon Studios’ upcoming development slate.

The move is said to be amicable and was of Hope's own choosing. The news was addressed Thursday by Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke in an internal memo to staff, in which she wrote, "Ted approached me earlier this year and expressed his feelings about taking on a new challenge. Over the course of several months and many conversations I came to realize Ted is a producer through and through and that now is the right time for both him and the studio to make a change."

Hope came to Amazon in 2015 as head of development, productions and acquisitions at the then-fledgling tech-backed studio. He was elevated to co-head of movies with Matt Newman after Jason Ropell stepped down as head of Amazon Studios' film division in July 2018.

Julie Rapaport, who joined Amazon in September 2018 as a co-head of film, and Newman will now run the movies team, reporting to Salke. 

For his part, Hope wrote in a separate memo, "Amazon and Jen have been generous in supporting the launch of my next venture, and we all can feel good that our projects -- and the next era of movies at Amazon -- are in the hands of my co-heads, Julie and Matt."

Hope's pre-Amazon career was spent as an indie film producer, working with directors like Ang Lee, Nicole Holofcener and Michel Gondry, with credits including Martha Marcy May Marlene and Friends With Money.

While at Amazon, Hope helped to shepherd the streamer's award-winning features, with a critically acclaimed film slate that was sometimes met with underperforming box office runs. Titles during Hope's tenure included Oscar-winner Manchester by the Sea and nominee The Big Sick, both of which were commercial successes. Salke, along with Hope, Rapaport and Newman, made headlines with a splashy $47 million spending spree on five films at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The big-ticket pickup Late Night ($13 million for U.S. rights) and Brittany Runs a Marathon ($14 million for worldwide) failed to perform at theaters, with worldwide grosses of $22 million and $7.4 million, respectively. 

Read both Salke and Hope's memo to staff, below.

Hello Team – 

I’m writing today to update you on some changes to the Movies team. Ted Hope will be transitioning from his co-head role and returning to his passion of producing. Ted approached me earlier this year and expressed his feelings about taking on a new challenge. Over the course of several months and many conversations I came to realize Ted is a producer through and through and that now is the right time for both him and the studio to make a change. I couldn’t be happier for Ted as he takes on this new adventure. 

Beginning June 2nd, Ted will enter into a multi-year, first look deal with Amazon Studios. This will allow him to focus on the kind of critically acclaimed films he produced prior to joining Amazon and the prestige films he shepherded during his tenure here. 

As many of you may know, Ted was hired to grow the movies team five years ago initially focusing on prestige films. His first production was Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed Chi-Raq. What followed was a slate of daring, interesting and award-winning films including the Oscar-winners Manchester by the Sea and Cold War, The Handmaiden, Love & Friendship, Paterson, You Were Never Really Here, The Big Sick and this year’s Oscar-nominated Les Misérables.   

Ted is a beloved and widely respected figure throughout the industry. We’re grateful to continue our partnership as he enters into this new chapter. Ted will consult on several movies planned for release in 2020 and he will produce select projects on the Studios’ upcoming development slate. Amazon Studios will always be a home for the best filmmakers in the business, and we consider Ted a member of this group. I’m thrilled that Ted will continue to be a vital part of the Amazon Studios family. 

Moving forward, Matt Newman and Julie Rapaport will be Co-Heads of the Movies team, reporting to me. I know the group will be in good hands as they continue their collaborative leadership, and build upon on the great successes AOM has had just within the past year with films including Late Night, Brittany Runs a Marathon, Honey Boy, The Aeronauts and Troop Zero. Please join me in congratulating Matt and Julie on their expanded roles. 

I’m so proud of everything the Movies team has accomplished and look forward to continued great work in the future. 

And finally, please join me in congratulating Ted on his new venture and thanking him for all his incredible work in helping build Amazon Original Movies.   

Jen

My friends, 

I have long aspired to improve my skills at expressing my thanks; I begin this letter fretting that I am going to fail to fully demonstrate how appreciative I am of the support, inspiration, and outright fun you have bestowed upon me. This is what this letter is really all about: thanks -- my many thanks to all of you.   

I have greatly enjoyed contributing to the launch, growth, and ongoing distinction that is Amazon Studios. From the start, it thrilled me that we stood for quality and ambition. It inspired me that we always tried to find new and more effective ways of doing things – and how that got us even more enthused. I love the movies that we developed, the ones we made, acquired and released. So many of our filmmakers were heroes of mine, and those that weren’t became so in the process. Many films we deeply value wouldn’t exist -- or at least in the manner they do now -- if we didn’t have the opportunity of working together at Amazon. It was particularly gratifying that The Aeronauts and Troop Zero – movies we developed, produced and long championed – connected so well with our customers and became the top performing original films on Prime. 

 Most of all, I loved working with you as a team. I have never been at a place where so many people were so smart, so passionate, and so committed to raising the bar -- where they did not seem into it for themselves. When I first considered coming to Amazon and read our Leadership Principles, I was cynical and could not believe that the ALPs would be embodied by you -- it is so great to be proven wrong on such things. Thank you, again. I trust we will get to collaborate many more times to come. 

I feel the choice of how we use our labor is one of the most profound freedoms we can enjoy. Instead of just “work”, I have always wanted missions, and – not to be grandiose or anything -- for a great amount of my five and half years here at Amazon Studios, I got to feel like my job was a great mission. Amazonians “Dig Deep” in our own unique ways, and after much personal reflection, interrogation, and “stack ranking,” my RCA (Recommended Course of Action) is that it is now time for me to say farewell.   

Amazon and Jen have been generous in supporting the launch of my next venture, and we all can feel good that our projects -- and the next era of movies at Amazon -- are in the hands of my co-heads, Julie and Matt. I trust our new missions will demonstrate how aligned we all truly are. Let me know if I can ever be of help. 

Keep lifting the good into the great! 

Most sincerely, 

Ted