On Thursday, Sundance kicked off its 2022 festival with a lineup of new films generating the buzz that comes with a Sundance premiere. Even though this year’s festival will take place virtually, the acquisitions market is still expected to be red hot. Sundance 2021 was also held as an online event, but that did not hold studios back from stepping in to make high-dollar acquisitions such as Apple with its $25M acquisition of Siân Heder’s CODA, and Netflix’s $15.75M buy of Rebecca Hall’s PASSING.
Streamers are expected once again to be the most active buyers at this year’s festival since most traditional distributors are still unsure about the commercial prospects in the current market for an art film released in theatres. Filmmakers are also offering distributors increased flexibility to choose the date to release their films, based on an assessment of the market.
The films with the most buzz include Lena Dunham’s SHARP STICKS, EMILY THE CRIMINAL starring Aubrey Plaza, CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH starring Dakota Johnson (who’s headlining multiple Sundance films this year), the documentary TIKTOK, BOOM which analyzes the rise of the social media platform Tik Tok, and the horror genre film THE WATCHER. Each of these titles would appear to appeal to a specific audience.