A streaming service shooting its own original movie is no longer out of the ordinary, thanks to Netflix's first effort, "Beasts of No Nation." A streaming service shooting its own original movie and exclusively debuting it in theaters, rather than on its own platform, is a little strange. But that's exactly what Amazon Studios is doing with its new movie directed by indie film favorite Jim Jarmusch. "Paterson," starring Adam Driver (who was just seen in a little flick called "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"), will appear only on the big screen, at least at first, sometime in 2016.
"Paterson" follows a bus driver (Driver) named Paterson as he goes through daily life in Paterson, New Jersey. "'Paterson' is a funny, philosophical and moving story that only Jim can tell. We look forward to working closely with him and supporting his vision in bringing the film to life," said Ted Hope, Head of Motion Picture Production at Amazon Studios, in a statement. "Adam Driver is one of this generation's most gifted actors. It'll be exciting to see what he and Jim unearth as they explore the intimate and richly textured world of 'Paterson.'"
Generally, the point of producing original material is to draw subscribers to one's streaming service; thus, "Only on Netflix" or "Only on Prime" as taglines. While the return on investment for an outfit like Netflix has been a little clearer — the service says it sees less subscriber churn, and people spend more time on Netflix, now that original programming has become a part of Netflix's identity. But with Amazon, Prime users aren't necessarily Prime viewers. Amazon doesn't release the number of Prime users, much less Prime Video viewership, so it's impossible to say what the benefits are. Even a limited release for the film has the potential to show a much more immediate return — both in terms of financials and critical kudos, as films must have a theatrical run to be eligible for major movie awards like the Oscars.
Amazon just won big at the Golden Globes with its comedy series "Mozart in the Jungle," which nabbed awards for best comedy or musical series and best comedy or musical lead actor for star Gael García Bernal.