Sundance streaming: Amazon buys Manchester by the Sea and Author: The JT LeRoy Story
James R | On 25, Jan 2016
Amazon has bought the domestic rights to Manchester by the Sea, which is screening at Sundance, as well as Author: The JT LeRoy Story.
Kenneth Lonergan’s follow-up to Margaret stars Casey Affleck as a man who is forced to go home after the death of his brother to care for his nephew. The film, which is produced by Matt Damon, also stars Kyle Chandler and Michelle Williams and has already been tipped as a likely contender for the awards season next year.
The $10 million deal followed an “all night auction”, according to Deadline, after Amazon outbid competition from Sony, Universal, Fox and Lionsgate.
Amazon’s tactic so far has been to acquire films for theatrical release followed by a quick release online through its subscription VOD service, although Amazon will have to find a distributor to help it bring the movie to cinemas. Amazon ha committed to both a theatrical release and an awards campaign, reports Variety.
Foreign rights to the film are still available, though, which casts some doubt over whether Amazon will also be releasing film to Amazon Prime Video subscribers in the UK. We have reached out to Amazon for comment.
Amazon’s shopping spree hasn’t ended there, though, with The Hollywood Reporter announcing last night that Amazon has also acquired Author: The JT LeRoy Story.
Jeff Feuerzeig’s stranger-than-fiction documentary follows the story behind literary persona JT LeRoy, a fictional writer created by American author Laura Albert, complete with a made-up back-story of prostitution, drugs and vagrancy.
Amazon outbid The Orchard to snag the movie, which we understand to also be a domestic distribution deal.
The deals mark a growing trend at this year’s Sundance Film Festival of streaming giants snapping up the event’s biggest hitters. Indeed, the festival’s trade market is considered by many to be running slowly this year, with deals few and far between. This is partly because Amazon and Netflix bought a number of films before the festival even started.
Amazon acquired White Stillman’s Love & Friendship, based on an unpublished Jane Austen story, last week – Artificial Eye in the UK snapped up British theatrical rights – while Netflix snapped up Iranian horror Under the Shadow. Amazon also bought Complete Unknown, starring Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon.
Deadline also reported that there was interest from multiple parties for other Sundance titles, including football documentary Gleason, Morris From America, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Goat and Weiner-Dog.