Annapurna Pictures has received much acclaimed over the years as founder Megan Ellison has backed original projects from celebrated auteurs which studios had no interest in.
The result is many critically celebrated films including “Her,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Master,” “Spring Breakers,” “20th Century Women” and “Phantom Thread”.
Last year alone they were responsible for acclaimed films – “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and “The Sisters Brothers,” the divisive but frequently nominated “Vice,” along with distribution of films like “Destroyer” and “Sorry to Bother You”.
But acclaim doesn’t necessarily make money, especially since the company moved into its own distributing and marketing in 2016, and Variety has posted a report about the issues they are facing.
Sadly it seems all of their 2018 films were flops with “Destroyer” likely to lose $7 million, ‘Beale’ to lose $8-10 million, “Vice” losing $15-20 million, and “Sisters Brothers” having a disastrous launch making just $1 million on a $38 million budget. The trade says the only film they’ve released in the last two years that turned a profit for them is “Sorry to Bother You” and even that was minimal.
Exhibitor Relations box office analysis Jeff Bock tells the trade: “If you’re going to do what Annapurna wants to do, you have to hit every time. It’s wonderful to be a patron of the arts, and there is a foothold for these adult dramas in the market, but you can’t ever miss.”
Ellison has responded to the piece on Twitter, calling out the writer saying: “nice way of supporting women. I have done good things for this industry and you want me in it. Btw my money and I look more like this [gif of Beyonce floating in a pool covered in raining money]… and my dad thinks I’m dope as f–k.”
Annapurna recently made a joint distribution deal with MGM and rebranded that part of their business in February as United Artists Releasing which will handle the release of the next James Bond film. Annapurna has “Booksmart,” “Missing Link” and “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” on the way this year.