Content is king, and the streaming platforms want as much royalty as they can get at Sundance.
Hulu, in their partnership with Neon, has set a record by 69 cents at Sundance. They’ve bought “Palm Springs” starring Andy Samberg for $17.5 million and 69 cents.
“Palm Springs” is from a first time director, Max Barbakow, and a first time writer, Andy Siara. They’ve made short films but never a feature film. The movie also stars Oscar winner JK Simmons, Tyler Hoechlin, and Cristin Milioti.
This breaks the previous Sundance record held by Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation,” which Fox Searchlight bought for $17.5 mil in 2016. After Parker’s past history came to light, that movie was a bust. Worldwide it made just under $17 million.
How much does “Palm Springs” sound like “Garden State” or “Happy, Texas” or 20 other movies that a distributor went overboard for? A lot.
The droll producers — Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Becky Sloviter — say: “We spent over 85 million dollars of our own money on this movie, WE ARE TAKING A BATH on this deal. We hope NEON and Hulu are happy but we definitely have a lot of explaining to do to our families.”
Neon, which has a hit with “Parasite,” will release “Palm Springs” theatrically, at least kind of. Hulu will want to get it on their platform fast. All the streamers– Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, etc — are racing around spending big bucks on movies that are not sure things. So far there have been no fistfights, but there are still a few days to go!