Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to stream Chi-Raq starting February 4th, making it the first original movie on Amazon Video. Amazon announced from the start that it would be releasing films for home viewing at a much faster pace than normal studios, but it isn't until now that we've known how quickly that would be. Chi-Raq entered theaters on December 4th, so its move to streaming comes a short two months later.
A month in theaters, a month in digital stores
Before it's available to stream for free — well, at no additional cost to people already paying for Prime — Chi-Raq is also being made available for digital purchase and rental, both starting yesterday. Notably, the movie is available to buy and rent pretty much everywhere you'd expect to be able to get a movie: iTunes, Google Play, and so on — it isn't limited to Amazon. It's also being made available on DVD and Blu-ray later this month.
The staggered release gives Amazon a chance to make money back through traditional revenue streams, even if they aren't likely to be huge for a limited release like Chi-Raq. And while Prime subscribers are being made to wait, Amazon is still giving this movie a much quicker turnaround than most film distributors would — the only movies that typically go from theaters to streaming this quickly are Netflix releases and tiny indies, both of which often get simultaneous releases. Chances are, once it's up on Prime, that's when a lot more people are going to start seeing Chi-Raq.