Throwing its money around like a regional manager with a corporate card at the Times Square Señor Frog’s, Amazon has picked up the rights to another buzzy title from this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Mere days after acquiring the domestic rights to Sundance favorite Manchester By The Sea, the streaming service has acquired the rights to Todd Solondz’s Wiener-Dog, in a deal Variety reports was “in the low seven-figure range.” The deal also reportedly came with the stipulation that Amazon would secure “a significant theatrical release” for the film, presumably something like its strategy for rolling out Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq late last year.
But while spending a couple million bucks might be worth it for an upstart studio hoping to be known for more than making bookstores obsolete and free two-day shipping, Amazon might not be making as good of an investment with this one. While The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd hailed Manchester By The Sea as a “masterpiece,” he gives Wiener-Dog a more tepid review, describing the penultimate story in this four-part anthology as “all of Solondz’s worst instincts in a 20-minute package, featuring a pathetic sadsack protagonist surrounded by shallow, despicable caricatures, with an extra layer of film-biz toxicity sprinkled on top.” Yes, but how effective is it at sticking it to Netflix?