Entertainment Magazine

A June Release for an Indie Comedy? Have Amazon and Lionsgate Doomed The Big Sick to Box Office Failure

Posted on the 16 February 2017 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

A June Release for an Indie Comedy? Have Amazon and Lionsgate Doomed The Big Sick to Box Office Failure

The Big Sick was one of the buzziest films at the Sundance Film Festival last month, sparking a bidding war which Amazon and Lionsgate ended up winning by offering $12m for guaranteed US and some international distribution. Now, Amazon and Lionsgate are making the bold choice to put Big Sick out in limited release on June 23 (opposite the latest Transformers and The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola's star-studded, feminist spin on an old Civil War story) before expanding wide on July 14 (opposite Bad Dads, Midnight Sun and War of the Planet of the Apes). Have they just doomed this film to box office failure?

Let's back up. The Big Sick, if you don't know, is Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon's largely autobiographical rom-com that roughly goes "Pakistani boy meets white girl, white girl contracts mysterious illness and falls into coma, Pakistani boy bonds with white girl's interesting parents." That's how Nanjiani and Gordon's real life courtship went, and the now-married couple translated their experience into a screenplay, which Michael Showalter directed and Nanjiani starred in (with Zoe Kazan playing Gordon's part, and Ray Romano and Holly Hunter playing the parents). Unlike some recent Sundance movies, it is not considered a true awards contender, but it's definitely a crowd-pleasing comedy which could really catch on through word of mouth, which is why Amazon/Lionsgate are wisely opting for a platform release.

History is not on their side, though. The last Sundance comedy to break out at the summer box office in any meaningful way is Napoleon Dynamite, which grossed $44.5m back in 2004. The three most recent such films to try and make a go of it in June- Swiss Army Man, Dope and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - failed to make much if any of a financial impression. Of course, no one actually expected anything from Swiss Army Man, aka the magical realism farting corpse movie. Dope and Me and Earl, on the other hand, both scored lucrative distribution deals out of Sundance, and were expected to revive a sagging indie box office in the summer of 2015. Instead, they made less than $30m combined, pegged as failures for trying to appeal to teenagers at a time when teens were too busy with the likes of Jurassic World.

A June Release for an Indie Comedy? Have Amazon and Lionsgate Doomed The Big Sick to Box Office Failure

Perhaps Big Sick will have better luck by appealing to a slightly older audience, which has been the safer play for prior film festival hits picked up and turned into summer season counterprogramming. Plus, with Hollywood now in a year-round blockbuster scheduling many of the old rules don't apply anymore or aren't nearly as iron clad. Maybe an indie comedy in June and July will be exactly what everyone in will need. Or, maybe like so many other recent indies which ventured outside of awards season, it will be swallowed up and spit out and enjoyed months later by Amazon Prime users who flock to Twitter to say, "Hey, I just watched this movie called The Big Sick. It's pretty good. That Silicon Valley guy can really act. Why had I never heard of this before?"

Here's a partial list of recent film festival hits which were commercially released in June or July as counter-programming to comic books, action slugfests and animated films. It's a strategy which should work in theory, but rarely does for a variety of reasons, such as the way summer blockbusters tend to function like black holes trapping everyone in their gravitational pull. NOTE: For those films which first premiered at a film festival other than Sundance (or didn't even play Sundance at all) I've included the name of the alternate festival (e.g., Toronto, Berlin, Cannes).


Captain Fantastic - $5.8m

Don't Think Twice - $4.4m (SXSW)

Swiss Army Man - $4.2m

Equity - $1.6m

The Fits - Less than $200K


Dope - $17.5m

Love & Mercy - $12.5m (Toronto International Film Festival)

Amy - $8.4 (Cannes)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - $6.7m

Irrational Man - $4m (Cannes)

The End of the Tour - $3M

Infinitely Polar Bear - $1.4m

The Overnight - $1.1m


Boyhood - $25m

A Most Wanted Man - $17m

Begin Again- $16.1m (TIFF)

Wish I Was Here - $3.5m

Obvious Child - $3.1m

Third Person - $1.1m (TIFF)


The Way, Way Back - $21m

Bling Ring - $5.8m (Cannes)

20 Feet from Stardom - $4.9m

Much Ado About Nothing - $4.3m (TIFF)


Beasts of the Southern Wild - $12.7m

Safety Not Guaranteed - $4m (TIFF)

Take This Waltz - $1.2m (TIFF)


Beginners - $5.7m (TIFF)

Buck - $4m

The Trip - $2m (TIFF)

Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times - $1m


Cyrus - $9.9m

Winter's Bone - $6.5m


The Hurt Locker - $17m (Venice)

Moon - $5m


No film festival indies made more than $1m


No film festival indies made more than $1m


Prairie Home Companion - $20m (Berlin)

Strangers with Candy - $2m

Who Killed the Electric Car? - $1.6m

Leonard Cohen I'm Your Man - $1.3m


Heights - $1.1m

Sources: THR, BoxOfficeMojo

A June Release for an Indie Comedy? Have Amazon and Lionsgate Doomed The Big Sick to Box Office Failure

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Shilo Sanders- Son Of Deion Sanders Thanks Courts For Allowing Him To Live With...

    Shilo Sanders- Deion Sanders Thanks Courts Allowing Live With Pilar

    ChristianNews Shilo Sanders, the son of NFL Hall of Famer,  Deion Sanders took to twitter to “thank” the courts for allowing him to live with his mother, Pilar... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Firstladyb
  • “I Feel Great”

    Feel Great”

    Jakub went to his doctor's office believing that he had a back injury, but returned with a chocking diagnosis instead. He had type 2 diabetes - in spite of... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Dietdoctor
  • July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    July Allotment Recap (2/2)

    Sunday afternoon saw us return bravely to 24a even though there were more thundery showers foretold by the weatherman. I will admit that I guffawed at the... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Chrryblossomtat2
  • Culinary Delicacies in Croatia- What to Eat and Drink in Croatia

    Culinary Delicacies Croatia- What Drink Croatia

    In my earlier post, we spoke about how Croatia is a stunning European destination, let us now see what are the culinary delicacies in Croatia or what you can... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Kash Pals
  • #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: The Delta Putt

    #Golf Training Aids Spotlight: Delta Putt

    Do you consider yourself to be a strong putter or do you feel you could improve your make percentage on the green? Most amateurs could use help with the flat... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Golfforbeginners
  • Three Incredible Hikes in Southern Iceland3 Min Read

    Three Incredible Hikes Southern Iceland3 Read

    Nature takes center stage in Iceland, where there's a stunning view around every bend: massive glaciers, expansive lava fields, powerful waterfalls, black sand... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Healthytravelblog
  • What I Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    What Wore: Daytime Pajamas

    Pajama top: ELOQUII (14) | Pajama pants: ELOQUII (14) | Shoes: ASOS (similar) | Earrings: J. Crew ( same in different colors, similar concept in same color) |... Read more

    The 04 August 2017 by   Wardrobeoxygen