A year after Amazon Studios announced its plans to join the fray of producing and distributing movies, the Seattle-based company is opening its wallet in a big way at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
In a big coupe over the weekend, Amazon won the bidding war for the domestic streaming rights to “Manchester by the Sea.” The film, directed by Kenneth Lonegran and starring Casey Affleck as a guy who is asked to take custody of his nephew when his brother (Kyle Chandler) dies, has been the talk of Park City. Times’ critic Kenneth Turan described it as “powerful, emotional filmmaking that leaves a scar.”
Amazon paid $10 million for it, according to Deadline.
The one-stop online retail shop, which has already proved it can hang with the popular kids on the television front with such series as “Transparent” and “Mozart in the Jungle,” is looking to find a distribution partner that can get the film in theaters.
Amazon and its online rival Netflix have both flexed some muscle as aggressive bidders before the festival even got underway — this, after being shut out last year.
Amazon, partnering again with Roadside Attractions, has already acquired "Love & Friendship." The Kate Beckinsale-led period film, which premiered Saturday at the festival, will debut in theaters before becoming available on Amazon's streaming service. It marks the second time Amazon has teamed up with the distributor — the first was Spike Lee's "Chi-Raq," which was released in U.S. theaters and on Amazon Prime last year.
Another pre-Sundance deal for Amazon was its purchase for the U.S. rights to the Rachel Weisz drama "Complete Unknown," which premieres Monday at the festival.
Netflix has landed worldwide streaming rights to the Iranian horror film “Under the Shadow,” the Paul Rudd drama "The Fundamentals of Caring," and the Ellen Page comedy “Tallulah.”
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