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Amazon Has Already Put Down Major Money For Its Upcoming Spy Thriller Red Shirt

Amazon is channeling its inner Cardi B and making some serious money moves right now. Most recently, admitted J.R.R. Tolkien fanboy Jeff Bezos beat out heavy competition from HBO and Netflix to produce the $715 million "The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power" — the most expensive season of television ever produced (via Business Insider). They've also undergone a somewhat controversial rebranding of their free-to-watch-with-ads streaming service Amazon Freevee (formerly IMDb.tv). Amazon has also poured a ton of money into original programming hits like "Bosch: Legacy" and "Leverage: Redemption" — as well as programming that doesn't have a colon in the title — no doubt to make a pretty penny off of that sweet, sweet ad revenue.

Well, they're at it again. News dropped recently that Amazon has outbid other major streaming platforms for the rights to a hot new spy thriller called "Red Shirt" that's sure to turn heads. Multi-million dollar deals have already been made to secure the star talent, director, and screenwriter, and this is what we currently know about who's involved and how much money one of its stars will be getting.

There's at least $50 million at play to secure top-tier talent for the project

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amazon will be paying Channing Tatum $25 million to star in the film, which also includes a fee for a producer credit on the project. The same goes for director David Leitch ("Deadpool 2") who is getting an $18 million deal, and writer/producer Simon Kinberg ("The Martian") who will return to his passion for writing spy thrillers for the low, low price of only $6 million. Altogether, the $50 million bid is not only the biggest bid for an original title, but the price was so steep that even Netflix decided to bow out of the competition.

Since "Red Shirt" is still in very early pre-production, there are a lot of unanswered questions that industry experts are curious about. Will Amazon join the likes of Disney+, HBO Max, and most recently Netflix by debuting in theaters followed by an online streaming release, or theaters only? Who will costar alongside Tatum? Will it be a spiritual successor to Kinberg's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" that fans wanted but never got?

Another big question that's on a lot of people's minds is why Amazon is being so aggressive with its original content production. According to Fortune, this move is intentional and many of the orders are coming from Jeff Bezos himself. The current plan is to put their "Rings of Power" spending to shame by bankrolling $1 billion in theatrical productions annually. The company has been ramping up production ever since Amazon acquired MGM Studios in May of 2021.