Sundance 2023: A Low-Sale Festival or a Wait-And-See Affair for Many Films Without Deals

Even seemingly surefire contenders starring Anne Hathaway, Jonathan Majors and Emilia Clarke ended the festival without a buyer

images from "You Hurt My Feelings," "Eileen" and "The Pod Generation"

Concerns over theatrical viability and a public promise from streamers to avoid spending sprees left this year’s Sundance Film Festival light on big purchases and — for now — high on orphans.

While there were a few major acquisitions such as “Fair Play” and “Theater Camp,” there was a notable absence of lower-profile sales or smaller pickups, while several seemingly surefire titles were left waiting for a buyer. Titles like the Anne Hathaway/Thomasin McKenzie 1960s women’s prison melodrama “Eileen” and the Chiwetel Ejiofor/Emilia Clarke sci-fi drama “The Pod Generation” left the festival empty-handed.

Sources say that even Randall Parks’ well-reviewed directorial debut “Shortcomings” had trouble drumming up interest, partially because the film’s major screening reportedly conflicted with other big premieres.