Rumors began swirling earlier this week that Lynch was out at the company. Lynch has been with Amazon since 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile. Lynch notified staff of his departure on Friday. It’s unclear what led to his exit. A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment.
Lynch isn’t the only high-ranking employee to leave Amazon Studios this year. In June, Bob Berney, a widely respected indie film executive, stepped down as head of marketing and distribution. The studio has yet to name a replacement. In 2018, Jason Ropell left as head of motion pictures. He was ultimately replaced by the tag team of Ted Hope, Julie Rapaport and Matt Newman.
The moves come as Amazon Studios is plotting a much different course on the feature film front than it was charting a few years ago. Roy Price, the previous head of Amazon Studios, was pushed out in 2018 in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. His replacement, Jennifer Salke, is better versed in television, having spent seven years in a top executive role at NBC. Some of her moves on the feature film front have been met with skepticism. Under Salke’s direction, Amazon went on a spending spree at Sundance, snapping up the rights to such films as “Late Night” and “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” only to see them fail at the box office. Amazon maintains that it does not gauge a film’s success purely in terms of ticket sales. It also looks at how it performs with its streaming subscribers. The service says “Late Night” has been popular with customers.
In the ensuing months, however, Amazon has embraced a different strategy. The company once sought to distinguish itself from Netflix by embracing robust theatrical releases. Now, upcoming films such as “The Report” and “The Aeronauts” will only be in theaters for a few weeks before debuting on Amazon Prime, the company’s streaming service.