Amazon to take on Netflix in cinema chain deal

Amazon believed to be in talks to buy the Landmark Theatre chain, potentially giving it a physical advantage over Netflix


It has been revealed that Amazon is in contention to purchase cinema chain Landmark Theaters. The move follows Amazon's prior dips into the brick-and-mortar realm with its purchase of Whole Foods in 2017 and its creation of the Amazon Go stores in Seattle.

Amazon faces stiff competition, however, with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's investment company, Wagner/Cuban Cos., as well as Netflix, all believed to be in the running to buy the chain. However, upon the revelation of speculation that Amazon was considering purchasing the chain, stocks in the three largest US cinema chains (AMC Theaters, Cinemark and Marcus Corp) all rose.

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In a comment to Bloomberg, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets LLC, said, "This is probably a move to get broader distribution of film content. Netflix had been discussed as a potential buyer of Landmark for a similar reason."

It is thought investors are currently favoring Amazon's bid over Netflix's because of the difference in the way they entered the market. Netflix disrupted the cinema industry significantly with its choice to release its movies on its platform on the same day of release, often not even bothering with a cinematic release. Amazon, however, opted to follow the traditional three months in cinema before releasing its movies on its Amazon Prime platform.

Another development which may lead to further contention for the company was the announcement by US antitrust officials that they have been considering lifting the ban on the 1948 law against film studios owning movie theatres. While this change may make it harder for smaller movie studios to get their films distributed, it will open up the possibility for a company like Amazon in regards to vertical integration.

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