Shortly before capturing the Audience Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Amazon Studios struck a deal to pick up worldwide rights to the critically admired prison drama Crown Heights. The addition to the Amazon slate marks what was a productive field of pick-ups for Amazon that include the crowd-pleasing The Big Sick, the Jenny Slate-headed Landline as well as docs Long Strange Trip and City of Ghosts. Amazon may be further bullish following their first Best Picture Oscar nomination, which came in the form of Manchester by the Sea just last week – that title was secured by Amazon at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Crown Heights, written and directed by Matt Ruskin, stars Lakeith Stanfield (Short Term 12, Straight Outta Compton, the FX comedy series Atlanta) as a Brooklyn man wrongfully accused of murder. The real-life story tells this harrowing tale and co-stars former NFL cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha as his friend who tirelessly tries to get him out of prison; a journey that took upwards of 20 years to overturn in the courts.
Variety was the first to break this story as notes that Amazon is sticking to their current model of providing Crown Heights a traditional theatrical release ahead of being made on its streaming service. This past weekend, the film earned the Audience Award following its world premiere at the Park City film festival. No details have yet arisen regarding when the film may open in theaters.