Sundance Film Fest 2018: Slow Sales–Which Movies Were Acquired?

Variety Reports:

The biggest deal of the 2018 Sundance Film Fest went to a dark genre movie, Assassination Nation, which premiered in the Midnight section. That sale of around $10 million went to AGBO, the Russo brothers’ production company, and 30West, represents the only eight-figure deal this year.

Other notable pacts include:

Sony Pictures Classics’ $5 million pickup of Kelly Macdonald’s drama Puzzle;

Bleecker Street and 30West’s $4 million-purchase of U.S. rights to Keira Knightley’s biopic, Collette;

Lionsgate’s $3 million deal for the opening night drama, Blindspotting

Last year, Netflix and Amazon scooped up many movies–from Mudbound to The Big Sick to documentaries.

Were the two entertainment streamers unbeatable, driving up prices and making it impossible to compete for product?

This year, both Netflix and Amazon have been very quiet.  Neither has bought a single movie. Both companies have focused more heavily on internal productions.

Amazon is also facing a crisis after Roy Price, the head of its entertainment division, resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal. Until Price’s replacement is named, it’s unclear what their movie division’s mandate is?

There were not “Little Miss Sunshine” or “The Way Way Back”-type of crowd pleasers.
Two of the most talked-about films arrived with distribution in tow:
A24 has the rights to “Eighth Grade,” about a middle school girl trying to navigate awkward life in the age of Instagram.
Amazon Studios showed Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” which features Oscar caliber performance by Joaquin Phoenix as cartoonist John Callahan.

“The Tale,” starring Laura Dern as a survivor of childhood abuse, based on the real-life story of director Jennifer Fox, is expected to land a deal. The drama feels particularly timely during the #MeToo movement.

Newcomers such as 30West, a film financier founded by former CAA agent Micah Green and entrepreneur Dan Friedkin, spent money this year. After buying Assassination Nation, the company said it was buying majority stake in Neon.

Neon bought “Three Identical Twins” and “Monsters and Men.”

MoviePass, a Netflix-like subscription service, got into distribution. It formed an alliance with the Orchard, the indie studio behind “The Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and “The Hero,” and acquired rights to the heist thriller American Animals.

Last year, only four Sundance acquisitions made more than $4 million at the domestic box office.