The 2017 Sundance Film Festival provided one of the strongest markets on record. The box-office results, however, tell another story. While big buy “The Big Sick
” was a big hit, second only to “Lady Bird” in the specialty marketplace, many smaller Sundance films remained just that: small, often earning less than their acquisition costs.
For some movies, small is a victory. Kogonada
,” which screened in the 2017 Next section, received the Sundance Institute
’s Creative Distribution Fellowship grant to fund its inaugural self-distribution partnership. “Columbus
” grossed more than $1 million — more than Fox Searchlight
’s “Patti Cake$
” ($9.5 million buy, less than $1 million domestic), and more than one might expect for a meditative romance set among the architecture of Columbus, Ind.
Three Sundance 2107 films — “Get Out
” (Universal), “The Big Sick
) and “Wind River
” (Weinstein) grossed over $250 million combined in domestic theaters. However, only “The Big Sick
” came to Sundance without a distributor.