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Amazon Studios Nabs JJ Abrams, Imax’s ‘The Blue Angels’ Documentary



The Blue Angelsa feature documentary from JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Imax about the storied US Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron from the cockpit, has landed at Amazon Studios.

The documentary, also from Glen Powell’s Barnstorm Productions, Zipper Bros Films and Dolphin Entertainment, has not yet set its release plans after Amazon Studios picked up the worldwide rights. But The Blue Angels will screen in Imax theaters at some point, while the doc is also expected to get played on Amazon’s Prime Video.

The Blue Angels uses Imax cameras to follow a year in the life of the Blue Angels from training through their touring show season. Imax got its start in making films for museums, science centers and other institutional partners before the Canadian-based company branched out into digitally remastering and screening Hollywood tentpoles on its large format screens after they were often shot using its proprietary cameras.

The distribution deal for The Blue Angels is historic in sending the Imax pic to a streaming audience as viewing habits in the movie business increasingly change. “This fascinating and layered documentary is wholly representative of the kind of work ethic, teamwork, and perseverance that goes into being a Blue Angel. We are incredibly honored to join this talented filmmaking team in bringing their story to audiences around the world,” Brianna Oh, head of documentary features at Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

The deal also comes as Amazon makes a major push into theatrical, with Ben Affleck’s Air becoming the first movie from Amazon Studios to receive an exclusive theatrical release around the world before streaming on Prime Video.

The Blue Angels getting a traditional release in cinemas is a departure from 2019 when The Aeronautsstarring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, lost a previously-agreed berth in Imax theaters after Amazon Studios scrapped a plan to give the drama a traditional cinema release that respected a common 90-day theatrical window.

Amazon handled the Air released in North America, while Warner Bros. International did overseas duties via its distribution pact with MGM. The film’s release date on Prime Video has not yet been announced.

The Blue Angels will be the theatrical documentary experience of the year, and we’re thrilled to share it with a global audience. Our partnership with Amazon Studios marks an exciting chapter for Imax as we reimagine how to broaden our original documentaries for a streaming audience,” John Turner, head of documentaries for Imax, added in his own statement.

The Blue Angels was directed and edited by filmmaker Paul Crowder (UFOs) and is produced by Glen Zipper, Mark Monroe, Sean Stuart, Abrams, Hannah Minghella and Powell. Rob Stone, Greg Wooldridge, Megan Colligan, Turner, Bill O’Dowd and Emerson Davis executive produced.

CAA Media Finance arranged the film’s financing and brokered the distribution deal. Dolphin Entertainment co-financed the film.

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