As the 2019 Sundance Film Festival wraps up this weekend, it seems the fest is once more the marquee place in America to acquire movies.
Along with the usual indie distributors gobbling up titles like Neon, A24, IFC Films, and Sony Pictures Classics, the major streaming companies came back with a vengeance.
After leaving the Sundance Film Festival last year having not bought a single movie, Amazon and Netflix took home titles (even Apple got in the mix for the first time ever). And Netflix may not be finished, as it is reportedly in talks to nab the much-talked-about documentary, "Knock Down The House," which features the political rise of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
But the buying spree by Amazon was historic.
It took three titles, first paying $13 million for North American rights for the Mindy Kaling comedy "Late Night" (she wrote, starred, and produced), a record for the biggest domestic buy ever at the fest. It then went and paid $14 million for the worldwide rights to the Adam Driver-starring political drama, "The Report."
How did we go from last year when the streaming companies had zero buys to this year?
"If your basketball team has 12 roster spots and you only have nine guys that season, you need to sign three more players," one source familiar with the Amazon deals told Business Insider.
Here are the big deals made at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival:
A24 — "The Farewell" ($6 million)
"Crazy Rich Asians" star Awkwafina plays a Chinese-American woman who travels back to China to visit her ailing grandmother and learns her family is trying to keep grandma in the dark about her terminal illness.
A24 — "The Souvenir" (Sold for undisclosed amount)
A24 grabbed the North American rights before the fest and during the fest took the rights to a sequel. It marks the breakout performance of Tilda Swinton’s daughter, Honor Swinton-Byrne, who plays a film student who falls for a heroin addict.
Amazon — "Brittany Runs a Marathon" ($14 million)
Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke was reportedly so taken by the movie that she was directly involved in negotiating the buy. Jillian Bell stars as a hard-partying New Yorker who tries to turn a new leaf by dedicating herself to run a marathon.
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Source: Business Insider