Amazon spent around Rs 2000 crore on the production of Priyanka Chopra’s spy thriller web series Citadel. But, the series has not received much response from the audience. Despite the huge production expenditure, the show failed to make it to the top 10 in the Nielsen ratings in the US.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has sought answers from the show’s producers following Citadel’s poor performance on the platform. According to media reports, Andy Jesse has asked why the production of some shows on Amazon is costing so much. Apart from Citadel, this list also includes many such shows for which the CEO has called for an answer.
The first episode of Citadel streamed on Amazon Prime on April 28 this year. Neither the show got any special response from the critics nor the audience liked it. According to a Bloomberg report, after the near-failure of Citadel, CEO Andy Jassy has asked for a detailed budget analysis of all Amazon’s big budget shows in the last 9 months.
According to Nielsen reports, there are six shows in this list in which about Rs 824 crore was spent on the production of each show, but none of the shows could make it to the top 10 category. In fact, amid the ongoing lay-off since last year, Amazon is now preparing to lay off once again. In such a situation, Amazon asked for a detailed report of those projects which are not performing. Amazon’s mega budget project Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power also left Amazon disappointed. Amazon had spent about 330 crores on this project.
However, for the time being, Amazon’s scrutiny is specifically focused on Citadel. In fact, for this project, Amazon had sought permission from Josh Appelbaum, the creator of the original TV show Citadel, to re-present it on Amazon Prime by making some changes in the series. An additional expenditure of about Rs 656 crore was incurred in this. Despite its efforts, Citadel has only made it into the Nielsen Top 10 shows once, behind Netflix’s Barbecue Showdown, Bloomberg reports.
As part of Amazon’s new ‘big spading strategy’, the company signed English actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge, American actors Jordan Peele and Donald Grover to first look deals. But, the company has not benefited much from this either. Similarly, Amazon did not get any special benefit from the deal with Priyanka.
According to the report, Amazon Studios Chief Jennifer Salke and her colleagues have admitted that Citadel was started keeping in mind the business rather than any creative project. It was expected that the first season of Citadel would be around 8 episodes long and on each episode but, the show only aired for 6 episodes. For the time being, Joe Russo will serve as director of Citadel for the second season due to production difficulties with the first season. However, he will get a fee of only 200 crores.
After the release of Citadel on April 28, Amazon’s Head of Drama Series Odetta Watkins said that Citadel would take more time to perform because American audiences were bored. However, he insisted that the show was made for a global audience and has served its purpose. Production on the Italian spin-off show Citadel is complete. At the same time, the spin-off of Citadel is also being shot in India. Samantha and Varun Dhawan will be seen in it.