“The Aeronauts,” an adventure film about swashbuckling 19th-century hot-air balloonists, was built for the big screen. Led by an Oscar winner, Eddie Redmayne, and a “Star Wars” star, Felicity Jones, it has real cinematic sweep, with sequences that take place miles above sea level. In May, Amazon Studios announced that the movie would play exclusively on IMAX screens for a one-week engagement before “a full theatrical run.”
Two months later, Amazon scrapped the IMAX engagement and shrank the theatrical release. Under the new plan, “The Aeronauts” would have a two-week run in a small number of theaters before becoming available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, which is available to more than 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers.
The film’s director, Tom Harper, was disappointed by the move. “It’s not how it’s intended to be seen,” he said in an interview with The New York Times last month at the Toronto International Film Festival, where “The Aeronauts” received a standing ovation. “But it’s a changing world, and I want people to see the movie. If it were up to me, I’d tell them to see it in the theaters.”
With the change in plan for “The Aeronauts,” Amazon was behaving more like its streaming rival Netflix, which has favored delivering movies to its subscribers quickly, rather than giving the films long theatrical runs.
MacDailyNews Take: Sounds like Amazon is trying to make Prime Video more of a destination than an afterthought.