Amazon betting big on theatrical for Air, from Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck
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Amazon is set to give Ben Affleck’s new film as director – Air – a sizeable cinema release as well: more information on it right here.

According to reports, Amazon is looking to make a splash on the cinematic landscape with the upcoming release of Air, the so-called ‘Nike movie’ that charts the forming of the athletic company’s historic deal with basketball legend Michael Jordan. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are reuniting for the project with the former also directing.

The project is interesting for a number of reasons beyond the subject matter. Affleck and Damon collaborating is always fun to see, whilst this film marks the debut of the duo’s Actor’s Equity label, which promises a fairer split of profits for all involved, including ‘below the line’ crew.

Should that turn out as promised, it will surely be something to support so there’s lots of interest in the film’s reception. Now it has been revealed that the chance of the film performing well at the box office have been given a boost by Amazon’s announcement that Air will get a wide theatrical release, enjoying a period of cinema exclusivity that most other film studios don’t allow their movies.

According to Varietyit’s the size of the release that is unheralded as well as the length of the cinematic run. Air will reportedly open across 3000 screens in the US, dwarfing Amazon’s previous releases with similar exclusivity windows such as Manchester By The Sea or The Big Sick. There’s more too: the promotional campaign for the film will include a Super Bowl ad, meaning Amazon is shelling out something in the region of $7m for a single TV spot to advertise the film.

It’s easy to imagine that Affleck and Damon will have pushed very hard for this. After all, delivering on the lofty goals of their Actor’s Equity imprint will probably depend on the film bringing in plenty of theatrical dollars. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the approach is a one-off either. Amazon Studios’ hiring of Sue Kroll, the famed Warner Bros marketing guru suggests (credited with some of the commercial success of Affleck’s The Town) that the company is looking to carve itself a clear and permanent foothold in the theatrical landscape.

Should this approach prove to be a success, you can see the other major streaming platforms having their heads turned somewhat. Netflix recently announced that it wouldn’t be moving in this direction following a very limited theatrical release of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery but if Air hits big, there’ll be plenty of Netflix investors looking at the company’s strategy and wondering why Netflix is ‘leaving money on the table’ when its rivals aren’t.

We’ll continue to bring you more on this rather interesting story as it unfolds. Distribution of the film outside of the US is being handled by Warner Bros, incidentally, and it’s due to get a solid release over here too.

Image: BigStock

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