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Amazon spent more money at Sundance this year than any other studio has before

Photo: Vivien Killilea (Getty Images for AT&T and DirecTV)

They say you should never go to the grocery store while hungry, because otherwise you’ll end up spending way more money than you intended to. Amazon apparently never heard this advice, because it went to this year’s Sundance without eating breakfast first and ended up spending $47 million on the distribution rights for five films. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that’s more than any other studio has ever spent at Sundance in a single year, so—going back to our grocery shopping comparison—this is like when the person at the checkout has to get a second cart to fit all of your bags into and all of the other customers look at you like you’re some kind of grocery maniac.

Amazon’s first big purchase was Mindy Kaling’s Late Night, beating out a bid from Hulu by offering a record-breaking $13 million. Days later, Amazon broke that record by paying $14 million for The Report, which stars Adam Driver and centers on the George W. Bush administration’s torture policies. Amazon then paid $14 million for Jillian Bell’s Brittany Runs A Marathon and $5 million for Shia LaBeouf’s Honey Boy (which was written by LaBeouf, is based on his life, and stars him as a character based on his own father). Finally, just yesterday, Amazon picked up its final movie by buying up the rights to documentary One Child Nation.


The Hollywood Reporter notes that some of Amazon’s competitors were “critical” of this big spending spree, since Amazon hasn’t always managed to turn the indie films it spends a ton of money on into actual hits. On the other hand, though, some of its most successful films have been indie movies it paid a bunch of money for at Sundance (specifically The Big Sick and Manchester By The Sea), so these five movies could go either way.

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