• AMAZON BRANCHING OUT FROM TV SERIES TO MOVIE PRODUCTION: SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon Studios is branching out from television series to movies, announcing plans to begin producing and acquiring original movies for theatrical release and, within weeks, video streaming.
Just five years after its launch, Amazon Studios says it will begin producing motion pictures this year and aims to release a dozen original “prestige movies” annually.
Independent filmmaker Ted Hope will oversee creative development for the new unit, Amazon Original Movies. Hope co-founded and ran Good Machine, a production company behind some Academy Award-nominated films, including “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” and “Eat Drink Man Woman.”
Amazon Original Movies will focus on unique stories, characters and voices from “top and up-and-coming creators,” according to the company. Once movies have hit theaters, they’ll debut on Amazon Prime Instant Video within 4 to 8 weeks.
• ORACLE NAMES LEON PANETTA TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS: REDWOOD SHORES (AP) — Oracle Corp. said Monday it named Leon Panetta a director, effective immediately.
The business software developer says the addition of Panetta, who has served as defense secretary and director of the CIA, will expand its board of directors to 12 members.
Oracle’s board members serve one-year terms. Panetta, who is 76 years old, will be up for re-election at Oracle’s next annual shareholder meeting in November.
• NON-STOP FLIGHTS FROM RENO-NEW YORK CITY TO BOOST ECONOMY: RENO, Nev. (AP) — JetBlue Airways’ plans for the first, daily non-stop flights linking Reno and New York City have local business and tourism officials excited about the potential impact on the region’s broader economy.
New opportunities range from filling hotel rooms and luring new business, to bolstering the area’s image based on the sheer prestige of having “New York” and “nonstop” in the same sentence, officials say.
Last week’s announcement drew more than 100 business leaders and others to Reno-Tahoe International Airport, where JetBlue Airbus A320s will begin daily nonstop flights to and from JFK International on May 28 — some as cheap as $450 roundtrip.
Elliott Parker, economics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said it helps bring attention to the region at a time of growing economic recovery with the likes of Tesla’s $5 billion battery gigafactory, the just-announced $1 billion Switch data center, and continued shrinking unemployment and rising home prices.