Amazon Studios Means Business

Amazon Studios has released its first graphic novel as a test for the project’s film potential. Keep reading on after the article because we have something important to add. (Read, “money-making offer.” Honest.)

Amazon tests movie waters with “Blackburn Burrow” release – by Liza Foreman (Reuters)

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) – Amazon Studios is testing the waters for what may be its first movie.

The content arm of e-retailer Amazon has turned the supernatural horror tale “Blackburn Burrow” into a digital comic to see if fanboys would be interested in a theatrical film, the company announced in Toronto on Wednesday.

“Blackburn Burrow” first came to Amazon Studios in the form of a feature-film screenplay from writer Jay Levy.

Community feedback, gathered from Amazon Studios’ crowdsourcing model, triggered the idea for the project.

The comic is available for free on Amazon for the Kindle. On the sales page it asks: “If we made this comic into a full-budget feature film, would you go see it?” It also points to a URL for responses.

The story is set in Civil War America, where supernatural horrors are infesting a small Appalachian town in Northern Georgia.

“This is a very exciting new venture for Amazon Studios. Beyond entertaining lots of comic fans, we see value in digital comics as a new way to test screenplays and learn more about fan engagement,” Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

A couple of things. First, the graphic novel was illustrated by Matthew Don Levy and written by comic book veteran Ron Marz, not Jay Levy. Unless they’re one and the same, which certainly could be possible but nevertheless seems unlikely. Amazon tells us about Ron but Reuters didn’t bother. And, the second thing we want to let you know, you don’t have to buy this issue to read it. You can read it for free. And, after you read it, if you answer a few questions about it, Amazon will send you a gift certificate for $5.

Now that’s audience testing we can get behind.

Oh, here’s a reaction we’ll give Amazon for free: Change the title, boys. BLACKBURN BURROW? Who the hell’s going to be intrigued by that?

EDITED BY LB TO ADD: “Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios”? Is this the same Roy Price I knew at Saban? If so, congrats, Roy. In fact, even if you’re not the Roy Price I know, congrats anyway. Looks like a pretty good gig.

EDITED BY MUNCHMAN TO ADD: 5000 people have read this book and answered the questionaire about it, so Amazon has pulled the plug on the $5 giveaway. I just wish I’d known that before I wasted 10 minutes reading this dull, imitative turd piece of crap %#$!. Roy Price, you want to know if I think this would make a good film? I think it wouldn’t even make a good lining for my puppy’s training crate, bud. If you waste one more dollar on it you should be fired and replaced by somebody who knows something. (Hey, Amazon Studios, if you’re very, very nice to me I might – that’s might – make myself available.)