Oscar-winning producers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman knew their movie “Lion” was a gamble when they took the script to Cannes in 2014. The first 30 minutes of dialogue was in Bengali and Hindi, the kind of thing that studios normally shy away from, and they had no cast attached.
“People were really excited about the story, but those types of films are still risks,” Sherman said.
Although there was interest from some of the major studios’ specialty divisions, indie stalwart Weinstein Co. bought the rights for $12 million. It was a lucky bet.
“Lion,” about an adopted boy who finds his Indian birth family through...