Sundance Film Fest 2020: What Kind of Market? What Players

Will Sundance 2020, which starts January 23, offer a repeat of last year’s explosive market, when a record four films sold for more than $13 million apiece, totaling $56 million?

All four films were either critical and/or commercial disappointments.

New Line’s Blinded by the Light and Amazon’s Late Night, The Report and Brittany Runs a Marathon earned a combined $47 million at the box office.

A market correction is in order.

While some active buyers in recent years have retreated from the distribution space (like Annapurna), others may be picking up the slack (HBO Max, Apple and even Disney+).

Subtitled fare could be the next hot sales subgenre in Park City, after the success of Parasite and The Farewell.

Many of the most commercial domestic titles already have distribution deals. including “Downhill” (Searchlight) and the Anthony Hopkins feature “The Father” (Sony Classics).

There has been a slow but progressive trend with indie distributors getting involved earlier in the process, sometimes at the screenwriting phase.