Amazon MGM Studios’ James Farrell Maps Out Original Content Strategy in Spain and Beyond After ‘Red Queen’ Premiere

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Madrid witnessed the illustrious debut of “Red Queen” (“Reina Roja”), marking Spain’s ascendancy as a pivotal market for Prime Video. Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon MGM Studios, and James Farrell, Vice President of International Originals at Prime Video, journeyed to Madrid for the world premiere of “Red Queen,” the series adaptation of Juan Gómez-Jurado’s acclaimed trilogy. The event unfolded on Monday night, symbolizing Spain’s increasing significance in Prime Video’s global landscape.

With the resounding success of its inaugural weekly live entertainment show, “Operación Triunfo,” Prime Video disclosed that three out of its top ten most-watched Spanish Originals of 2023—namely “My Fault,” “Awareness,” and “Los Farad”—have garnered an impressive 80% of streams outside Spain. This achievement underscores the burgeoning international appeal of Prime Video’s non-English language content.

“The past year has been truly exceptional for Spanish-language content,” remarked Salke. “Our productions have resonated not only with global audiences but also with critics and industry accolades, with ‘Argentina, 1985’ earning an Academy Award nomination and our Mexican Original ‘La Caída’ clinching victory at the International Emmy Awards.”

Salke expressed anticipation for the forthcoming Spanish-language projects, starting with the highly anticipated “Reina Roja.”

Scheduled for a February 29 launch, “Red Queen” premiered at Madrid’s iconic Teatro Fernán Gómez, graced by cast members and esteemed guests. Notable figures in attendance included Victoria Luengo, Hovik Keuchkerian, Àlex Brendemühl, Nacho Fresneda, Celia Freijeiro, directors Koldo Serra and Julián de Tavira, alongside Spanish luminaries such as the stars of “Operación Triunfo,” Farrell, and Maria Jose Rodríguez Perez, head of Spanish Originals at Amazon Studios.

Reflecting on Prime Video’s top ten most-watched Spanish-language Originals, it’s evident that scale plays a crucial role. Mariano Barroso’s “Los Farad,” a sprawling family saga set against the backdrop of ’80s Marbella, tops the list. Similarly, “The Head of Joaquín Murrieta,” a revisionist Western set in 1848 California, and “Zorro,” enjoying robust viewership, highlight Prime Video’s penchant for grand narratives.

The success of “Red Queen,” featuring stars from acclaimed Spanish series, foreshadows promising prospects for future Prime Video endeavors.

In an exclusive interview with Variety following the premiere, Farrell and Rodriguez Perez expounded on Prime Video’s global and Spanish original programming vision. They emphasized the replication of “Operación Triunfo’s” triumph, aiming to captivate Spanish audiences while fostering international resonance.

The decision to host a red-carpet world premiere for “Red Queen” was rooted in the novel’s immense popularity in Spain, noted Rodriguez Perez. With a fervent fanbase spanning the nation, the premiere unfolded simultaneously in eight cities, ensuring a collective experience for all Prime Video customers.

Prime Video’s robust pipeline of original programming in Spain underscores its commitment to diverse storytelling. Farrell commended the Spanish team’s adeptness in balancing locally resonant content with global appeal. He attributed the success of Spanish productions to their character-driven narratives, a distinguishing feature evident across Prime Video’s acclaimed lineup.

Rodriguez Perez emphasized Prime Video’s collaborative ethos, fostering partnerships with established and emerging talents in Spain’s vibrant creative landscape. She highlighted Prime Video’s adaptive approach, offering various models for original content production tailored to each project’s unique requirements.

Farrell elucidated Prime Video’s meticulous approach to global distribution, emphasizing localization efforts post-green light approval. He underscored Prime Video’s readiness to explore adaptations of successful international titles, exemplified by the Spanish reality competition “Operación Triunfo.”

As Prime Video continues to expand its international footprint, Rodriguez Perez affirmed their commitment to live shows and events, citing the forthcoming second season of “Operación Triunfo” as a testament to their enduring appeal.

In summary, Prime Video’s strategic alignment with local sensibilities and global aspirations positions it as a frontrunner in the burgeoning Spanish-language content landscape.

Top 10 most-watched Spanish-language Original movies and series on Prime Video in 2023:

  1. My Fault / ‘Culpa mia’ (Movie, Spain, June 2023)
  2. Awareness (Movie, Spain, Oct 2023)
  3. Sayen (Movie, Chile, March 2023)
  4. The Initiated (Movie, Colombia, July 2023)
  5. “Los Farad” (TV Series, Spain, Dec 2023)
  6. “The Head of Joaquin Murrieta (TV Series, Mexico, Feb 2023)
  7. “Sayen: Desert Road” (Movie, Chile, Oct 2023)
  8. “No Traces” (TV Series, Spain, March 2023)
  9. “Barrabrava Season 1” (TV Series, Argentina, June 2023)
  10. “De viaje con los Derbez” Season 3 (TV Series, Mexico, Nov 2023)