Even Amazon is learning: Life, itself, is expensive.
Last year Amazon Studios fought off two other studios to buy Dan Fogelman’s “Life Itself.” Reports say they ponied up at least $10 million to buy the movie from the creator of NBC’s hit TV show “This is Us.” Hot stars Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde, as well as Antonio Banderas, led the cast.
But “Life Itself” is now dead. Two weeks into release, the poorly reviewed, incoherent ensemble film has about $3.7 million in the bank. This past weekend, its second, the take was just $770K in 2,355 theaters.
Amazon, which isn’t about theaters in the first place, will have to cut the number drastically for the next two weeks. They will also have to differentiate it from “Life Itself,” the documentary about Roger Ebert that now comes up in the Amazon search for Movies with that name.
For Amazon Studios, the movie is a total write off. Jeff Bezos’s company has so much money it doesn’t matter to them, probably. But in the competition with Netflix, Amazon is suffering. Last fall they struck out entirely except for “The Big Sick.” The year before they had “Manchester by the Sea.”
But this year, Amazon Studios has made around $8 million at the box office on three releases, including “You Were Never Really Here” and “Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot.”
The company has had several changes of leadership in a short time. Jason Ropell stepped in for Roy Price when he was fired for sexual harassment issues. Ropell has left recently, replaced by Jennifer Salke. Amazon isn’t clear what kind of movies they want– indie Oscar nominees or blockbusters. In the meantime, they have really great people like Ted Hope and Bob Berney to release and market the heck out of whatever the product is.