Photo: Ritz Cinemas, Logos: Amazon, Nike

Amazon Studios’ Ben Affleck-Matt Damon drama “Air” is set to embrace theatrical in a way streaming services rarely do, and will spend the money to do it.

The film centers on real-life shoe salesman Sonny Vaccaro (Damon) and how he led Nike in its pursuit of basketball phenom Michael Jordan – an endorsement deal that ended up changing sport and fashion forever. Affleck plays Nike founder Phil Knight, Viola Davis is Jordan’s mother, whilst Jason Bateman, Chris Messina, Marlon Wayans and Chris Tucker round out the cast.

Variety reports that when Amazon debuts the film in cinemas worldwide on April 5th, it is planning an exclusive theatrical window that is comparable to or even longer than the window major studios give their own theatrical releases, before eventually launching it on Prime Video.

Whilst Amazon has released films with an exclusive cinema window before, such as “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Big Sick,” none have ever been on this scale of a release which is expected to be splashed across 3,000-plus screens domestically.

That’s not all though as to help generate talk about the film, the streamer is set to spend more than $7 million on a prime Super Bowl ad for the movie – joining some of the most high-profile spots during the game including Warners’ “The Flash,” Paramount’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” and Universal’s “Fast X”.

One source tells the trade: “It’s a really big swing. It’s going to put a lot of pressure on Netflix and Apple to follow suit on their big films and how they release them.”

The aggressive push towards theatrical is being seen as related to the newly hired Sue Kroll, the famed Warner Bros. marketing veteran who recently took over marketing at Amazon Prime. Her expertise on large-scale theatrical releases was one of the key reasons for her hiring.

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