Monday, May 27, 2024

Amazon Studios Struggles to Find a Hit, Wipes Out at Least $10 Mil Spent for Box Office Office Disaster “Life Itself”


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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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