After a slow start to the 35th annual Sundance Film Festival, the weekend produced a handful of sizable deals, including from Amazon Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and Lionsgate.
Deal activity is muted so far at this year’s festival despite claims that producers and sales agents were withholding their best films at TIFF in September to introduce at Sundance.
Discover in their own words what elements 26 US distributors are searching for when they acquire distribution rights at Sundance.
After a lackluster Sundance in 2018, last year was full of mega-deals, especially by Netflix and Amazon. Buyers spent over $120 million acquiring rights to some 40 films.
Netflix and Amazon, who were once touted as the saviors of the indie film market, are retreating from acquisitions to focus on producing more original films.
Buyers at TIFF are skittish after a 6% drop in North American box office receipts in 2019. Worse still, is the dire year indie films are having, where receipts have declined 45%.
The deep pockets of digital distributors have inflated the average price of film rights at Sundance and other major film festivals.
It’s hard to imagine Amazon leaving Sundance this year with a big-dollar prestige film like years past.