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Fox And Amazon Making Biggest Financial Splashes At Sundance

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Fox And Amazon Making Biggest Financial Splashes At Sundance

Sundance is usually the time where major studios make deals for some of the top independent films around. With the advances of streaming media giants like Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), those deals have become even more noteworthy. This year's festival is no different.

Amazon And 'Manchester By The Sea'

Amazon joined the fray early this year with a deal for the drama "Manchester By The Sea," a film produced by Matt Damon. In order to top the competition, Amazon shelled out $10 million for the rights to the project, which revolves around a Boston handyman who unexpectedly becomes a caregiver to his nephew.

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Amazon tried to make this type of a splash last year, but was rebuffed out of fear the streamer couldn't mount the same awards campaign as a major studio. Netflix previously ran into similar problems, but has been very active as well, purchasing two films before Sundance even started.

Fox And 'The Birth Of A Nation'

Yet, the $10 million Amazon deal was upstaged on Tuesday when Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOXA)'s Searchlight division scooped up "The Birth of a Nation." In a hotly contested race that reportedly included all of the other major heavyweights (both streaming and traditional), the film sold for $17.5 million.

Netflix is reported to have gone as high as $20 million, but again lost out over concerns about the chances of the company getting "Birth" into the awards race in the same way as Fox could.

Ironically, Fox Searchlight was the same studio that stifled Amazon's attempt to enter the market last year, as it topped the streamer for "Brooklyn," which has now earned three top Oscar nominations. "Brooklyn" was also the only film acquired at Sundance to make the cut for Best Picture.

Fox Searchlight has a reputation for shepherding awards films through the season, having most recently guided "12 Years A Slave" to a Best Picture win in 2014.

Image Credit: Public Domain

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