Amazon Studios on Wednesday officially announced that its first-ever Amazon Original Movie will be Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” film.
Amazon's Head of Motion Picture Production, Ted Hope, said the Chicago-based film could be Lee’s “greatest, and definitely his boldest film yet.”
“Spike Lee is one of the most distinct and visionary filmmakers of our time,” Hope said in a statement. “It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker with whom to launch our studio. He has a unique voice, a distinct eye, and he tackles important subjects with humor and heart, pointing to solutions and not exploiting the problems."
"Chi-Raq," which features stars like Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson, Teyonah Parris, John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson, was shot entirely in Chicago and wrapped up last week.
While Amazon did not say if the film had a set release date, the The Hollywood Reporter reports it will debut in theaters for an Oscar-qualifying run in December.
The movie, which has been a source of debate in Chicago as some city officials oppose the "Chi-Raq" title, intends to “shed light on the serious, but often overlooked issue of violence in inner city Chicago.”
“Please don’t be fooled by the title of Chi-Raq, this new Spike Lee joint will be something very special,” Lee said in a statement. “We have assembled a stellar cast.”
"Chiraq" is the slang term some use to compare America's third-largest city to a war zone because of its violent crime. Those in support of the film say the title is a "reality of what's happening in the city."
First announced in January, Amazon Original Movies will allow the company to produce and acquire original films for theatrical release while also offering an “early window distribution” for Prime members.