Amazon Is Getting Into The Movie Business

Looking to turn your book into a screenplay? Amazon has a new business that aims to help you do this.

Amazon Studios is a new website where filmmakers and screenwriters can submit scripts and test films for the chance to get their movie made. Test movies must be at least 70 minutes, but they don’t have to be made on a full budget. Now through Dec. 31st, 2011, Amazon Studios will give away a total of $2.7 million to the winning submissions, which will be selected monthly. Amazon Studios will award $100,000 to the best script and $1 million to the best movie submitted by December 31, 2011 for the final 2011 Annual Awards.

Amazon Studios will look to develop these projects into commercial feature films, giving Warner Bros. Pictures the first look to release any of these productions.On top of award money, submitters will also receive fees for the rights to their work. Amazon’s press release explains more: “Under the Amazon Studios development agreement, if a filmmaker or screenwriter creates a project with an original script and it is released by Amazon Studios as a theatrical feature film, the submitter will receive a rights payment of $200,000; if the movie makes over $60 million at the U.S. box office, the original filmmaker or screenwriter will receive a $400,000 bonus. If Warner Bros. Pictures is not inclined to develop a particular project, Amazon Studios can then produce the project in cooperation with another studio.”

To be eligible for the first monthly awards, test movies and scripts must be uploaded by January 31, 2011. Amazon Studios has produced five-test movie as examples for filmmakers.

Amazon Studios panelists will decide on the winners. The panelists include: Top Gun screenwriter Jack Epps, former Miramax president Mark Gill, The Mask screenwriter Mike Werb and Bottle Rocket producer Michael Taylor. Once a film or script is submitted, movie fans can review them and offer revisions, acting like a digital test audience.