Amazon announced it will move into self-distributing its own films after deciding to release Woody Allen's Wonder Wheel without bringing in a distribution partner. The move by Amazon would also distinguish it in relation to Netflix, its streaming rival. Netflix has opted for either extremely limited or no theatrical release at all of its titles to push subscribers to its own platform; Amazon's decision demonstrates its commitment to more theatrical releases.
The decision marks a significant turn for the streaming giant. It has previously partnered with traditional distributors like Roadside Attractions (Manchester by the Sea) and Lionsgate (Cafe Society and The Big Sick) to put its films into theaters. The company also released Allen’s six-part “Crisis in Six Scenes,” late last year via the Amazon Prime Video streaming service. Bob Berney, Amazon's head of marketing and distribution, will broaden his role to oversee theatrical rollouts.
Wonder Wheel is set in a late 1950s amusement park at Coney Island and will star Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Juno Temple, Jim Belushi, and Debi Mazar. The film will have its world premiere and will serve as the closing night film at the 55th New York Film Festival on October 15. It will open in theaters on December 1. Awards prognosticators expect it will become a big player this awards season