Amazon and Netflix are looking to secure even more great original content for their rosters this year. At the Sundance Film Festival in Utah both companies have paid upwards of $10 million to acquire the rights to some of the most popular independent movies to debut at the festival so far. Netflix paid $5 million to stream the movie Tallulah on their service as well as $7 million for The Fundamentals Of Caring. Meanwhile Amazon forked out a whopping near $10 million to get the streaming rights only to Manchester By The Sea. They also partnered with Roadside Attractions to acquire indie darling Whit Stillman’s Jane Austen adaptation Love & Friendship.
Tallulah is a film by Sian Hedler, a writer and producer of Netflix’s own original series Orange Is The New Black. It is loosely based on her own experiences as a nanny for hire. Ellen Page plays a nanny who, while looking after a drunken mother’s child, decides to take the baby and keep it. The Guardian gave it four stars and called it a “richly wrought story” while Variety said it’s a “strong showcase of female talent both behind and in front of the camera”.
Written and directed by one of the Late Show alumni, Rob Burnett, The Fundamentals Of Caring is a road trip dramedy about a carer and his client suffering from muscular dystrophy. Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts star in the movie which also has a small role for Selena Gomez. This movie didn’t receive as warm a response from critics with Variety saying it demonstrates “indie-comedy cliches” while The Hollywood Reporter says it sticks closely to “the stereotypes of indie filmmaking”.
Amazon’s acquisition Manchester By The Sea is the third film from writer and director Kenneth Lonergan whose previous movie Margaret was received to rapturous reviews and hailed as one of the best movies of the decade. This drama is about a man, Casey Affleck, who returns to his hometown after the death of his younger brother and becomes legal guardian to his son. It also stars Michelle Williams and was produced by Matt Damon. Mashable called it a “masterpiece”. Vanity Fair said it is an “artful tearjerker”. Fox, Universal, Sony and Lionsgate all bid for the film but Amazon made the best offer.
Last of all, Amazon and Roadside Attractions acquired Love & Friendship, the adaptation of Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan directed by indie stalwart Whit Stillman. It reunites Stillman with Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, who starred in his comedy The Last Days Of Disco in 1998. The amount spent on this deal is not yet known.