November 17, 2010, 4:10 PM

Amazon wants a hand in making hit movies

Amazon Studios seeks screenplays and films that could turn into blockbusters.

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Amazon.com Inc. today introduced Amazon Studios for filmmakers hoping to wow the world with their movies. The world’s largest online retailer says it has set aside $2.7 million in monthly and annual prizes, which Amazon plans to award by Dec. 31, 2011.

The efforts focus more on commercial potential than artistic merit, with Amazon listing making money first among traits it will look for in submitted materials.  “Winning screenplays and full-length test movies will be selected on the basis of commercial viability, which will include consideration of premise, story, character, dialogue, emotion and other elements of great movies,” Amazon says.

Amazon has struck a deal with Warner Bros. Pictures that calls for Amazon Studios to produce the best projects, which will then go to Warner Bros. for a first look. Amazon can produce the movie with another studio if Warner Bros. passes. If Amazon Studios releases a film to theaters, the filmmaker or screenwriter receives $200,000 for the rights and a $400,000 bonus if the film earns at least $60 million in the United States.

"We are excited to introduce writers, filmmakers and movie lovers to Amazon Studios," says Roy Price, Amazon’s director of digital product development. "We hope that Amazon Studios will help filmmakers experiment and collaborate and we look forward to developing hit movies."

Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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