In a bidding war against Sony Pictures Classics, Universal, Fox Searchlight, Lionsgate and Amazon, buzzy drama Manchester by the Sea has been acquired by Amazon for $10 million. Amazon has all domestic rights for the Kenneth Lonergan-helmed film, but will also bring in a theatrical distributor. This is following a trend of outbidding traditional theatrical distributors, started by Netflix with Paul Rudd’s The Fundamentals of Caring, bought for $7 million, and Ellen Page’s Tallulah, bought for $5 million.
Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Kyle Chandler, made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival to strong reviews from critics. The new film is seen as a contender for awards-season partially because of Casey Affleck’s performance.
Affleck stars as an independent handyman in Boston who, after the sudden death of his brother, becomes the caretaker of his 16-year-old nephew. Lonergan, writer and director of the 2000 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner You Can Count on Me, also wrote Manchester. It was produced by Matt Damon along with Kimberly Steward, Lauren Beck, Kevin Walsh and Chris Moore.