×

Sundance: Amazon Lands ‘The Big Sick’ in Blockbuster Deal (EXCLUSIVE)

In one of the biggest deals in the history of Sundance, Amazon Studios has landed distribution rights to “The Big Sick” for about $12 million, Variety has learned.

The pact comes on the heels of the romantic comedy’s rousing premiere on Friday night. The film is about a Pakistani-American comedian (Kumail Nanjiani) whose relationship with his girlfriend (Zoe Kazan) is nearly derailed over cultural differences and a health crisis. Nanjiani co-wrote the heavily autobiographical script with his wife Emily V. Gordon.

The negotiations for North American rights and other foreign territories stretched into midnight on Saturday. Nanjiani told Variety earlier this week that he wanted the film to get a theatrical release. Unlike Netflix, its rival streaming service, Amazon is a big proponent of the theatrical experience, with all of its films getting at least some kind of theatrical run.

The Big Sick” sparked interest from a number of distributors, among them Sony, Focus Features and Netflix. At least some of these studios presented final bids on Saturday. The comedy, which earned glowing reviews, is considered one of the most commercial films at this year’s festival. Other territories were pre-sold, which was a concern to some potential buyers.

Popular on Variety

Michael Showalter (“Hello My Name is Doris”) directed the film with Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel producing. Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, and Kurt Braunohler round out the cast.

There have already been a number of high-profile sales at this year’s Sundance.  Netflix bought the documentaries “Casting JonBenet” and “Chasing Coral,” and teamed with Momentum Pictures to acquire “Fun Mom Dinner”; A24 nabbed “A Ghost Story,” a drama with Casey Affleck; and Sony Pictures Classics picked up the gay love story “Call Me By Your Name.” “Mudbound,” a drama about life in the segregated South, premiered to a thunderous standing ovation on Saturday. It is expected to spark another epic bidding session.

Amazon was very active at last year’s Sundance, buying the likes of “Gleason,” “Weiner-Dog,” and “Manchester by the Sea.”

FilmNation and UTA negotiated the deal.

More Film

  • Nicole Kidman Charlize Theron Margot Robbie

    PGA Awards Winners: Complete List (Updating Live)

    The Producers Guild of America are announcing the winners in the motion picture and television categories for its 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards on Saturday night at the Hollywood Palladium. The PGA Awards has been one of the most reliable bellwethers for the Oscar for best picture, matching award in 21 of its past 30 [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho, Jane Rosenthal, David

    Netflix Praised by 'The Irishman,' 'Marriage Story' Filmmakers at Producers Guild Panel

    Streaming giant Netflix received strong support from filmmakers behind “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story” at the Producers Guild of America’s nominees panel on Saturday at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jane Rosenthal, one of “The Irishman” producers, said Netflix embraced the vision that she and Martin Scorsese had for the $170 million film. [...]

  • Gabriel Harel on MyFFF ‘The Night

    Gabriel Harel Discusses Dystopic Parable ‘The Night of the Plastic Bags’

    With his first short film, the animated “Yùl and the Snake,” Gabriel Harel won Europe’s Cartoon d’Or for the continent’s best animated short film, given at the 2016 Cartoon Forum in Toulouse. Now, Harel’s awaited sophomore effort, the animated “The Night of the Plastic Bags,” competes at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, and is available on a swathe [...]

  • MyFrenchFilmFestival: Profiling Benjamin Crotty’s Short ‘Nicolas

    ‘The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin’: Nationalism Wrapped in Charisma

    Winner of Locarno’s Signs of Life section, Benjamin Crotty’s “The Glorious Acceptance of Nicolas Chauvin” has enjoyed more than 12 months of festival success and critical acclaim as it reaches the end of its festival run at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival. A modern take on one of France’s most influential yet widely unknown characters, the film headlines [...]

  • Alexander Ludwig

    Alexander Ludwig on Sharing his Recovery Journey, Playing the 'Bad Boys' Tech Guy

    With his towering height and stature, Alexander Ludwig looks every bit the action star, first appearing as Cato in “The Hunger Games,” and more recently as fierce Norse Viking chief Bjorn Ironside on History Channel’s “Vikings” and in “Bad Boys for Life,” the third installment of the “Bad Boys” franchise, with Will Smith and Martin [...]

  • Will Smith and Martin Lawrence star

    Box Office: 'Bad Boys for Life' Scores Big With $66 Million Launch

    “Bad Boys for Life” is showing plenty of power at the North American box office with an impressive  launch of around $66 million at 3,740 venues over the four-day holiday weekend. Sony’s sequel to 1995’s “Bad Boys” and 2003’s “Bad Boys II” far exceeded the studio’s pre-release forecasts of a $38 million weekend. The film, [...]

  • A Bump Along the Way Movie

    'A Bump Along the Way': Film Review

    While “Derry Girls” continues to be the last word in young, raucous female rebellion on the Emerald Isle, “A Bump Along the Way” has a little something to add. Sin the same Northern Irish city as the hit Netflix sitcom, but shedding the ’90s nostalgia for the Snapchat age, Shelly Love’s appealing, unassuming debut feature [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content