For well over two decades, the Sundance film festival has served as the launchpad for the most anticipated independent film offerings. Recent winners of the festival’s biggest honor, the Grand Jury Prize, went to eventual Oscar players (and in some cases, winners): Whiplash, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Fruitvale Station. Last year, however, the annual event hit a bump: its big breakout, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, winner of the aforementioned prize, as well as the coveted Audience award, failed to break through to the mainstream after opening to paltry numbers in the summer. It managed only to earn $6.7m at the domestic box office (Whiplash made double that the year prior). Distributor Fox Searchlight was so sure it had a hit its hands that they spent a blockbuster $12m on buying the film out of Sundance, losing a lot on their gamble in the end. The film was also not greeted warmly by many critics upon its eventual release (the Guardian’s Mike McCahill called the drama “equal parts quirk and fluff” in his two-star review). Dope, another favorite of last year’s festival, likewise flamed out last summer; as did The Diary of a Teenage Girl, which… Read full this story
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