Yesterday afternoon Mashable‘s Josh Dickey posted about Amazon’s 90-day theatrical window thing. It’s widely believed that Netflix shot itself in the foot Academy-wise by going day-and-date with Beasts of No Nation, but Amazon will be dodging that shitstorm, most significantly in the case of Kenneth Lonergan‘s awards-baity Manchester by The Sea, which they acquired at Sundance for $10 million.
(l. to r.) Manchester by the Sea costars Lucas Hedges, Casey Affleck, Kyle Chandler.
(l. to r.) Amazon’s Ted Hope, Roy Price, Bob Berney.
Dickey: “In a new (but very old) strategy that could give it a leg up over other streamers breaking into Hollywood, Amazon is preparing to allow a 90-day window between movie theaters and Prime streaming for many of its upcoming films, allowing for more robust and mainstream cinema runs, Mashable has learned.”
Except Amazon’s Scott Foundas told me about the theatrical window intention six weeks ago on a Park City shuttle bus. Remember, also, that the 90-day thing had been revealed in a February 2nd Deadline interview between Mike Fleming and WME Global head Graham Taylor, who brokered the Manchester deal along with the sale of The Birth of a Nation to Fox Searchlight.
Fleming: “Why did you make the $10 million deal with Amazon, a streaming service, but turn down $20 million from Netflix to take $17.5 million from Fox Searchlight for The Birth Of A Nation?”
Taylor: “With Amazon [and Manchester by the Sea], the filmmakers really connected with Ted Hope, Bob Berney and Josh Kramer and how they saw the release as one with a traditional theatrical window with a minimum of 90-day hold back to give theater chains what they needed. [Amazon] plans a major awards play, which they’ll get behind with p & a.”
By the way: A guy at the Spirit Awards (2.27) told me he’d heard Open Road had more or less agreed to be Amazon’s theatrical partner on Manchester. But Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg was somewhat dismissive when asked about this. He basically said “discussions, yeah, but no deal.” It’s not very sexy to just release a film for a fee as opposed to being involved as a financial and spiritual partner. Plus the size of the distribution fee would have to be satisfactory for all parties.
For the record: The actual Massachusetts town of Manchester-by-the-Sea obviously uses hyphens; the movie title doesn’t.