July 27 (UPI) -- Amazon announced it will start to self-distribute its own films, beginning with the next Woody Allen project, Wonder Wheel.
Amazon will release Wonder Wheel in theaters on Dec. 1 without a distribution partner, unlike its past theater releases, which were distributed with the assistance of independent studios, reported Variety.
The self-distribution format marks an evolution in Amazon's Hollywood presence. After years of distributing content on its website and co-distributing feature films in theaters, it now has the infrastructure in place to be a fully independent movie studio.
Bob Berney, Amazon's head of marketing and distribution, will be in charge of the company's theater releases.
With Allen's Wonder Wheel set for a December release, the height of awards season, it's expected to contend for hardware.
"I'm not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch Wonder Wheel, but when the lights came up I was speechless," said Kent Jones, the Director and Selection Committee Chair for the New York Film Festival, which Allen's movie is scheduled to close in October.
Wonder Wheel will be the third project Allen has made for Amazon after the critically-praised feature film Cafe Society and the critically-reviled Amazon web series, Crisis in Six Scenes.