Amazon celebrates theatres, previews Haynes’ ‘Wonderstruck’

Amazon celebrates theatres, previews Haynes' 'Wonderstruck'

LAS VEGAS — Amazon Studios might have a streaming component, but executives say the company is fully committed to the theatrical experience.

The young studio in its second year at CinemaCon, an annual gathering of theatre owners and exhibitors, reiterated its commitment to preserving the theatrical window Thursday and previewed its upcoming slate of releases. Amazon’s streaming and original content competitor, Netflix, did not present at CinemaCon.

“Our customers love great movies and great movies play in theatres,” said Amazon executive Jason Ropell. “We really believe in the theatrical experience by fully supporting the theatrical window for our releases.”

Last year at CinemaCon, Amazon was a new studio, timidly dipping its toes into the waters alongside the biggest studios in Hollywood. This year, it came back with swagger and a story, boasting Oscar wins for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman.”

One of its most highly anticipated is Todd Haynes’ “Wonderstruck,” a fanciful coming of age drama set in 1927 and 1977 and starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and “Pete’s Dragon’s” Oakes Fegley. The film is set for release sometime this year.

Amazon plans at least 15 releases again this year, concentrating on filmmaker-driven projects like Richard Linklater’s “Last Flag Flying” about Vietnam vets played by Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell and Laurence Fishburne who reunite years later around a death.

The studio also showed a preview of the Mike White-directed “Brad’s Status” starring Ben Stiller in a dramatic turn and the John Cena war pic “The Wall” from “Edge of Tomorrow” director Doug Liman.

Its next release is “Lost City of Z” on April 14 from lyrical filmmaker James Gray. Starring Charlie Hunnam, “Lost City of Z” is a spiritual adventure film about an explorer obsessed with a city he discovered on an expedition.

Hunnam was on site to talk about the arduous jungle shoot and the beetle that crawled into his ear one night during production. The actor also passed out candy to the audience in crowded ballroom at Caesar’s Palace along with Kumail Nanjiani, whose rom-com “The Big Sick” launches on June 23.

Amazon’s marketing head Bob Berney also announced that Terry Gilliam’s long-time-coming “Don Quixote” is currently in production with Adam Driver.

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press

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