Whenever you hear bad news, it is always a good idea to go and do some research online before you create a social media post and ask the same question 100 times.
So here it is… This year at Sundance, Netflix and rival Amazon bought exactly zero films each from indie filmmakers at the festival. Last year in 2018, Netflix picked up 10 films and Amazon bought 5 films. So, why were indie films overlooked this year? It may not be all doom and gloom as we all seem to hear it is.
Netflix was chasing Laura Dern’s "The Tale" but was outbid by HBO who bought it for $7 million. Next up, Amazon was reportedly very interested in Sam Levinson’s "Assassination Nation" but were outdone by Neon and the Russo Brothers’ AGBO offer to the tune of $10 million. So, let's dismiss the first rumor that there was no interested in buying indie films. Buyers went with very specific films in mind.
Netflix released Will Smith's film "Bright" which cost a whopping 90 million dollars and has been in deals with Paramount Pictures to obtain international rights for films such as Natalie Portman’s eco-thriller “Annihilation.”
Amazon Studios has increased their budget for in-house productions and will be creating a new science fiction series and a series which is being hyped as the most expensive TV production in the world, "Lord of the Rings.”
With all of the above said and done, attention has proven to be elsewhere and both major streaming platforms were not afraid of being outbid either. In fact, when you realize HBO streams on Amazon, you can see why that they are in no rush to bid amongst themselves.
All in all, there are fewer spots provided by Amazon and Netflix for indie filmmakers. This just means an alternative will arise the ashes. I mean, I still use Hulu...