Amazon Studios is going airborne with a spectacular squadron of the U.S. military.
The production-distribution company today announced it has acquired worldwide rights to the Imax Original Documentary The Blue Angels, directed and edited by Paul Crowder and filmed aloft with “awe-inspiring Imax cameras.” Bad Robot, Glen Powell’s Barnstorm Productions, Zipper Bros Films, and Dolphin Entertainment produced the documentary.
“The Blue Angels follows the newest class of the storied Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron through intense training and into a season of heart-stopping aerial artistry, and the veterans on the team who, this year, will take their final flights,” according to a description of the project. “It marks the first time the iconic blue and yellow F/A-18 Super Hornets will be featured in Imax. The film also captures the spectacle of this traveling air show through key members of the support staff on the ground, as well as from loved ones left at home.”
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One imagines the acquisition wasn’t a hard sell for Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos, an aerospace enthusiast and founder of rocket company Blue Origin.
“This fascinating and layered documentary is wholly representative of the kind of work ethic, teamwork, and perseverance that goes into being a Blue Angel,” said Brianna Oh, head of documentary features at Amazon Studios. “We are incredibly honored to join this talented filmmaking team in bringing their story to audiences around the world.”
John Turner, documentaries chief for Imax, noted: “The Blue Angels will be the theatrical documentary experience of the year, and we’re thrilled to share it with a global audience. Our partnership with Amazon Studios marks an exciting chapter for Imax as we reimagine how to broaden our original documentaries for a streaming audience. We’re grateful for the enthusiasm and support that the Amazon team has for the project. It reflects the infectious spirit that The Blues have instilled in millions of fans for 80 years.”
J.J. Abrams, co-CEO of Bad Robot, commented, “One of the most remarkable aspects of the Blue Angels’ story is their relentless pursuit of excellence. It’s a message that I think will be as inspiring to the audience as it has been to the filmmakers.”
The documentary is produced by award-winning filmmakers Glen Zipper (Undefeated) via Zipper Bros Films, Mark Monroe (Icarus) via Diamond Docs, and Sean Stuart (Challenger: The Final Flight) via Sutter Road Picture Company. Bad Robot Productions’ J.J. Abrams and Hannah Minghella also produced, along with Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) via BarnStorm Productions. Rob Stone, Greg Wooldridge, Imax’s Megan Colligan and John Turner, and Dolphin Entertainment’s Bill O’Dowd and Emerson Davis executive produced.
CAA Media Finance arranged the film’s financing and brokered the acquisition deal. Dolphin Entertainment co-financed the film.
The Blue Angels was founded in 1946 by then Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester Nimitz, “to create a flight demonstration team in order to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale,” according to the U.S. military’s Blue Angels website. “The squadron spends January through March training at Naval Air Facility El Centro, California… The team is stationed at Forrest Sherman Field, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, during the air show season.”
The Blue Angels’ next public aerial display is scheduled for May 6-7 at the Wings Over South Texas Air Show in Corpus Christi.
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