Amazon and Nicole Kidman are teaming up to make 'sexy, date-night' movies

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  • Amazon plans to release 30 movies a year to compete with Netflix, at least 20 of which could go directly to streaming.
  • It's teaming up with Nicole Kidman for "sexy, date-night movies that no one's making anymore," Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke told The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Jason Blum also signed an exclusive deal with Amazon last year to make eight movies as part of a thriller series.

Amazon has plans to escalate its movie output to compete with Netflix, and wants to bypass theaters to release more movies straight to streaming.

Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told The Hollywood Reporter that the tech giant plans to release 30 movies a year, at least 20 of which could head straight to Amazon Prime. It's teaming up with actress Nicole Kidman and "Get Out" and "BlacKkKlansman" producer Jason Blum to kickstart the initiative. Netflix is expected to release 55 original movies this year, according to The New York Times.

Salke said that Kidman's movies would be released during the summer on Saturdays to create "some bingeability." Netflix, meanwhile, generally releases movies on Fridays.

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"I'm working with Nicole Kidman on this slate of sexy, date-night movies that no one's making anymore, like 'No Way Out' or 'Cruel Intentions,'" Salke told THR. "Those kind of, 'I need to stay home and just drink wine with my girlfriend, or my boyfriend, husband, and watch this.' This is really Nicole's thing. When I met with her my second week in the job, we made the first-look deal out of this lunch. She was like, 'Where are the hot, sexy movies?' We had a meeting of the minds on it, and I'm like, 'Let's just get those movies directly, where we could release over the summer.' Every Saturday night, one of those comes out, and then you create some bingeability and a marketing story behind it."

The strategy pits Amazon directly against Netflix, which has grown an impressive library of "date night" movies. It dubbed this past summer the "Summer of Love" after it released a series of romantic comedies including "The Kissing Booth," "To All the Boys I've Loved Before," "Sierra Burgess Is A Loser," and "Set It Up."

Blum also struck an exclusive deal with Amazon in November to make a thriller series that will include eight movies for the company's streaming service.

"[Producer] Will Packer just called me, and he was like, 'I have a small horror movie," Salke told THR. "It could fit into your direct-to-service Blum thing.' Send it over. Great, I want it to see it, because we can feed those lanes. And then the YA space is gonna be the other one. There could be 20 direct-to-service movies managed within a given year also at least."

Part of what has set Amazon apart from Netflix in recent years is the studio's commitment to theatrical releases, such as for this year's three-time Oscar nominee, "Cold War." Salke said that Amazon will still allow a "wider release strategy" where it makes sense, but that the studio will be more flexible with the window.

Amazon bought five movies at the Sundance Film Festival this year, including Mindy Kaling's "Late Night" for a record $13 million. Amazon spent at least $46 million total at the festival.

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