Amazon dabbles in original movies with Spike Lee's 'Chi-Raq'

The first of Netflix's original movies will be arriving in just a couple months, and it will kick off a long run of several planned original flicks. Amazon, though it moves more slowly, has largely followed in Netflix's footsteps with its own original shows, and now it will be doing the same with original movies. Today the Internet retailer announced that its first original movie will be Spike Lee's "Chi-Raq", a film that was shot entirely in Chicago and that was just recently wrapped up.

"Chi-Raq" is the film's working title at the moment; the movie was written by Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott, with Lee serving as director. The movie focuses on the problem of violence in Chicago's inner city, and it will be starring several well known celebrities: Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, John Cusack, and more. Teyonah Parris will be playing the lead character as her breakout role.

Lee has praising Amazon's original movie ambitions, saying, "I'm honored to be part of the film that will launch Amazon Studios and to tell a story that is so important. Please don't be fooled by the title of Chi-Raq, this new Spike Lee joint will be something very special. We have assembled a stellar cast."

Amazon first announced its plans to get into original movies back in January. With these projects it is eyeing both theatrical launches and "early window distribution" to its own Prime members. How receptive theaters will be to such an arrangement is yet to be seen, however. Some of Netflix's own industry shakeups have been met with a lot of backlash.

SOURCE: Amazon