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Amazon said to consider purchase of movie theater chain

The e-tailer is vying to buy Landmark Theatres, a chain owned by Mark Cuban, Bloomberg reports.

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Is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos looking for more red carpet appearances at the Oscars by purchasing a movie theater chain?

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon is reportedly looking to make the jump from the small screen to the big screen by purchasing its own chain of movie theaters.

The internet retail giant is competing against other suitors to acquire Landmark Theatres from a group backed by billionaire Mark Cuban, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing unidentified people familiar with the deal. An agreement hasn't been finalized and may not materialize, the sources reportedly said.

Purchasing a movie theater chain would represent a new component in the streaming giant's ambitions to become an entertainment giant. The e-commerce titan was expected to spend $4.5 billion on video-streaming content last year -- not far behind rival Netflix's $6 billion video budget.

But while Netflix's business is streaming video, Amazon's is about selling a wide variety of topics, including shampoo, cloud services and its own smart speakers. By expanding its universe, Amazon hopes to draw consumers further into its ecosystem of devices, apps and other services, making it tougher to switch to a competitor.

Despite the big budgets, streaming services are getting little respect from Hollywood elite. Amazon Studios won three Academy Awards in 2017, including statuettes for best actor and best original screenplay for Manchester by the Sea. But earlier this year, Steven Spielberg said movies that have mere "token" theatrical runs -- as those from Amazon rival Netflix do -- shouldn't be in the running for Oscars.

A chain of theaters dedicated to showing Amazon's original content could go a long way toward improving the company's reputation with the film industry.

Netflix reportedly eyed making an offer for the Los Angeles-based chain, but backed off the idea because executives feared the purchased price would be too high.

Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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