Amazon Studios expanding to iconic Hollywood location, signaling big ambitions despite executive turmoil

Culver Studios in Culver City, Calif. (Culver Studios Photo)

Amazon Studios, the company’s film and TV production arm, said it is moving into the historic Culver Studios, where classics like “Gone With the Wind” and “Citizen Kane” were shot.

Amazon is taking 280,000 square feet in the 99-year-old complex in Culver City, Calif., the company said in a press release. Amazon’s footprint there includes The Culver Studios Mansion and Bungalows and will house Amazon Studios, IMDb, Amazon Video and World Wide Advertising teams, with employees focused on creative, technical, marketing and legal.

Amazon said it currently employs about 700 people in Santa Monica, Calif., and those folks will start moving in to Culver Studios toward the end of the year.

The move to this famous studio is another example of Amazon’s growing Hollywood clout. It has taken home numerous Emmy awards over the years, and Amazon became the first streaming studio to win an Academy Award when it took home three Oscars for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman.”

And Amazon is doubling down on its film operation, with plans to release Woody’s Allen’s next film, “Wonder Wheel,” without relying on a distribution partner like it has in the past.

“We are very excited about being a part of 100 years of movie and TV history at The Culver Studios,” said Albert Cheng, head of Amazon Studios. “Most importantly, this new LA-based office will give us the much needed space for our team to work and grow so we can keep bringing Prime Members the very best in series and movies.”

(Culver Studios Photo)

Cheng, who has served as COO of Amazon Studios since 2015, is reportedly leading the studio on an interim basis, following the departure of Roy Price. Price resigned less than a week after an executive producer for the television series “The Man in the High Castle” went public with details of a sexual harassment claim she had previously made against him.

Reports over the summer indicated that Amazon had investigated Price over the claims from producer Isa Hackett, who said at the time she did not wish to “discuss the details of this troubling incident with Roy except to say Amazon investigated immediately and with an outside investigator.” But she decided to come forward earlier this month after the recent accusations of sexual assault and abuse against powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein reverberated throughout the entertainment industry.

Amazon Studios parted ways with three more executives last week, though those departures do not appear to be related to Price’s resignation.

Developed by silent movie pioneer Thomas H. Ince, Culver Studios has been home to some of the most iconic films and TV shows. Everything from the original Batman series, to “E.T.” to “The Matrix,” to “Legally Blonde” were filmed there.

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