Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video has been distributing original content since 2013, and original films since 2018, several of which come from in-house studio, Amazon Studios. In 2020, Amazon released Uncle Frank, a GLAAD Media Award-winning film, from out filmmaker Alan Ball, which follows a gay man in the 1960s returning to his hometown after the death of his father with his partner and his niece. Last year, Amazon also released other films with LGBTQ characters in supporting roles, including Selah and the Spades where the lead of the Shakespearean teen drama was asexual; action comedy My Spy which featured a gay couple who were neighbors to the main character; and teen drama Chemical Hearts, which included a queer teen who was good friends with the protagonist and started a relationship with another girl.
One of the newer streaming services, HBO Max is owned by parent company WarnerMedia and was launched in 2020. In addition to an extensive library, and hosting Warner Bros.’ theatrical releases, HBO Max is releasing original films as well. In 2020, HBO Max released GLAAD Media Award nominee La Layenda Negra in conjunction with HBO Latino, the coming-of-age story of a queer Latinx teen who starts up a friendship with a more popular girl at school. HBO Max also released fellow nominee Unpregnant, a road trip comedy about a teen girl on a quest to get an abortion and her estranged best friend, who is also a lesbian.
Hulu has been releasing original films since the 2017 documentary Batman and Bill, and their content only increased in 2020, when the service handled several releases that were previously scheduled for theatrical distribution from major studios due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. One of these was Sony’s Happiest Season, a lesbian Christmas film from out filmmaker Clea DuVall, which tells the story of a woman going to her girlfriend’s home for the holidays only to find out that she’s not out to her parents. The cast featured several queer actors including Kristen Stewart, Dan Levy, Victor Garber, Aubrey Plaza and more. The film received a GLAAD Media Award and broke viewership records for Hulu. Happiest Season had the best viewership for any original film on Hulu in its opening weekend and attracted more new subscribers to the service than any other previous title.
The streaming giant started distributing original films in 2015 with Beasts of No Nation and has been putting out movies ever since. In 2020, the streamer purchased and released several films which had been intended to be studio theatrical releases prior to the COVID pandemic shutting down theaters. Some LGBTQ-inclusive highlights from Netflix’s past year were GLAAD Media Award recipient The Boys in the Band, an adaptation of the groundbreaking play about a group of gay men at a dinner party; Alice Jr, a Brazilian coming-of-age story about a transgender girl seeking her first kiss; The Half of It, a coming-of-age story about an Asian-American lesbian who finds herself writing letters to her crush under the guise of being her classmate; The Life Ahead, an Italian film about an older woman taking in a young boy and her friend, who is transgender, helps her care for him; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which told the real life story of queer blues singer Ma Rainey; The Old Guard, an action film about a group of immortals including two men in a loving centuries-long relationship; The Prom, an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name about a small town teen girl who just wants to take her girlfriend to the prom and is helped in her mission by washed-out Broadway stars; and Your Name Engraved Herein, a Taiwanese film that follows two boys falling in love at a boarding school in the 1980s. Netflix also released several LGBTQ-inclusive documentaries, including groundbreaking and GLAAD Media Award-winning documentary Disclosure, which explores the history of transgender representation in Hollywood. Other LGBTQ-inclusive documentaries from the streamer include Mucho Mucho Amor, Circus of Books and A Secret Love.