In recent years, streaming powers Amazon and Netflix have jumped into distributing their own film titles. In navigating the changing tides of the times, however, both streaming giants appear to be departing with how they are choosing to handle their eclectic film slates. Netflix is going against the current, offering their movies in day-and-date plays in both theaters and on the streaming service (recent examples include Beasts of No Nation and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny) while Amazon appears to be striving to work with distributors and hold off on streaming runs for a little while after theatrical release. Amazon seems to be going forward on that model with Kenneth Lonergan’s upcoming Manchester by the Sea, which broke out after its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
According to Variety, Amazon is partnering with Roadside Attractions (a subsidiary of Lionsgate) for the theatrical release of the drama which stars Casey Affleck (Triple 9), Kyle Chandler (Carol) and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn). Lonergan wrote and directed the intimate domestic drama which earned raves after premiering at Sundance and sparked a fierce bidding war, in which Amazon came up as the victor. Lonergan previously wrote and directed the 2000 Oscar nominated Sundance Film Festival favorite You Can Count on Me (which served as a breakout for actor Mark Ruffalo) and previously made the long-delayed cult favorite Margaret starring Oscar winner Anna Paquin (True Blood).
In Manchester by the Sea, Affleck portrays an man forced to take care of his teenage nephew following the death of his brother. The film is set to open in theaters on November 18th, in hopes that Amazon and Roadside can attract awards attention for the film. The film will open in limited release at first but will likely expand throughout the holiday season. No date has been set on when Manchester by the Sea will be available on Amazon Prime, but it will likely fall following the traditional 90-day model following its theatrical run.
Amazon and Roadside partnered last year on Spike Lee’s critically admired film Chi-Raq and will do so again with the upcoming Whit Stillman film Love & Friendship starring Chloe Sevigny and Kate Beckinsale. Amazon’s upcoming slate includes the latest untitled film from Woody Allen (which may premiere at Cannes), Sundance hit Weiner Dog, Nicolas Winding Refn’s horror entry The Neon Demon as well as Todd Haynes’ upcoming film Wonderstruck.
Manchester by the Sea will open in limited release on November 18th.