|Formerly||Fox Searchlight Pictures (1994–2020)|
|Headquarters||10201 West Pico Boulevard,|
Number of employees
|Parent||20th Century Studios|
(Walt Disney Studios)
Searchlight Pictures, Inc. is an American film studio that is a division of 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, which is part of The Walt Disney Company. Founded in 1994 as Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc. for 20th Century Studios (previously 20th Century Fox), the studio focuses primarily on producing, distributing and acquiring specialty films.
Searchlight is best known for distributing the films Slumdog Millionaire, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman, The Shape of Water and Nomadland, all of which won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Other Best Picture nominations include The Full Monty, Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Black Swan, 127 Hours, The Tree of Life, The Descendants, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Brooklyn, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Favourite, Jojo Rabbit, and Nightmare Alley. The studio has grossed over $5.3 billion worldwide and amassed 26 Golden Globe Awards, 48 BAFTA awards, and 44 Academy Awards. Slumdog Millionaire is the studio's largest commercial success, with over $377 million (US) of box office receipts, against a production budget of only $15 million.
Before creation of Searchlight
Prior to the creation of Searchlight, 20th Century Fox was active in the specialty film market, releasing independent and specialty films under the banner of 20th Century-Fox International Classics, later renamed 20th Century-Fox Specialized Film Division, then TLC Films. The most notable of the releases under these banners include Suspiria, Bill Cosby: Himself, Eating Raoul, The Gods Must Be Crazy, Reuben, Reuben, and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
In the early 1990s, 20th Century Fox executives decided to emulate the commercial success of Disney's newly acquired Miramax studio. In 1994 20th announced the formation of a subsidiary that would drive their entry into the specialty film market, and in July that year, they brought in Thomas Rothman, then president of production at The Samuel Goldwyn Company, to head up the new subsidiary. It was soon given the name Fox Searchlight Pictures, with Rothman as its founding president. The new company inherited the familiar branding elements associated with 20th Century Fox; Fox Searchlight films opened with a production logo consisting of the Fox Searchlight name presented as a large monolith, illuminated by the eponymous searchlights and accompanied by the 20th Century fanfare composed by Alfred Newman.
From its first release, The Brothers McMullen (1995), Fox Searchlight went to distribute a series of independent films such as Girl 6, Stealing Beauty, and She's the One (all 1996). While critically well received, these early releases were not commercially very successful; Fox Searchlight's first real commercial breakthrough came with The Full Monty (1997), garnering the studio's first awards.
21st Century Fox era
On June 28, 2012, Rupert Murdoch announced that Searchlight's parent company News Corporation would be split into two publishing and media oriented companies: a new News Corporation, which takes on the publishing and Australian broadcasting assets, and 21st Century Fox, which operated the Fox Entertainment Group and 20th Century Fox until its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company. Murdoch considered the name of the new company a way to maintain the 20th Century Fox's heritage.
Fox Stage Productions was formed in June 2013. The creation of 21st Century Fox was completed on June 28, 2013. In August 2013, 20CF started a theatrical joint venture with a trio of producers, both film and theater, Kevin McCollum, John Davis and Tom McGrath.
In September 2017, Locksmith Animation formed a multi-year production deal with 20th Century Fox, who would distribute Locksmith's films under 20th Century Fox Animation, with Locksmith aiming to release a film every 12–18 months. The deal was to bolster Blue Sky's output and replace the loss of distributing DreamWorks Animation films. The first film to be released under the production company was Ron's Gone Wrong, which was released on October 22, 2021 by 20th Century Studios.
Technoprops, a VFX company that worked on Avatar and The Jungle Book, was purchased in April 2017 to operate as Fox VFX Lab. Technoprops' founder Glenn Derry would continue to run the company as vice president of visual effect reporting to John Kilkenny, VFX president.
On October 30, 2017, Vanessa Morrison was named president of a newly created 20th Century Fox division, Fox Family, reporting to the Chairman & CEO and Vice Chairman of 20th Century Fox. The family division would develop films that appeal to younger moviegoers and their parents both animated films and films with live-action elements. Also, the division would oversee the studio's family animated television business, which produces based holiday television specials on existing film properties, and oversee feature film adaptation of its TV shows. To replace Morrison at Fox Animation, Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird were named co-presidents of 20th Century Fox Animation.
20th Century Fox issued a default notice in regards to its licensing agreement for the under-construction 20th Century Fox World theme park in Malaysia by Genting Malaysia Bhd. In November 2018 Genting Malaysia filed suit in response and included soon to be parent The Walt Disney Company.
On December 14, 2017, The Walt Disney Company agreed to acquire most assets from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Searchlight, for $52.4 billion. After a bid from Comcast (parent company of NBCUniversal) for $65 billion, Disney counterbid with $71.3 billion. On July 19, 2018, Comcast dropped out of the bid for 21st Century Fox in favor of Sky plc and Sky UK. Eight days later, Disney and 21st Century Fox shareholders approved the merger between the two companies. On March 12, 2019, Disney announced it has set to close the Fox deal on March 20. On March 19, 2019, 21st Century Fox spun off the remaining assets, including the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Fox Deportes, and the Big Ten Network into the newly formed Fox Corporation in preparation for final consummation of the sale. On the next day, the sale was completed. After trying a day, Disney set film leadership lineup.
As of November 2019, FX Networks and Fox Searchlight were assigned to supply Hulu with content. On January 17, 2020, it was announced that the "Fox" name would be dropped from several of the Fox assets that were acquired by Disney, shortening the company's name to "Searchlight Pictures", in order to avoid brand confusion with the Fox Corporation.
Since 1994, Searchlight Pictures has accumulated 164 Academy Award nominations with 44 wins (including five Best Picture winners since 2009), 117 Golden Globe nominations with 26 wins, 173 BAFTA nominations with 48 wins, 66 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations with 12 wins, 215 Critics Choice Award nominations with 55 wins, and 137 Independent Spirit Awards nominations with 54 wins.
Both original material and adaptations of Searchlight's existing film library will be produced for cable, streaming and broadcast television, in the form of documentaries, scripted series, limited series and more. In April 2019, the Hulu streaming service ordered The Dropout, starring Amanda Seyfried from Searchlight Television and 20th Television. The studio is also developing an adaptation of the City of Ghosts novel with ABC Signature and an adaptation of N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy with Westbrook Studios. In October 2021, Hulu ordered a sequel series to the Mel Brooks film History of the World, Part I from Searchlight Television and 20th Television.
|The Dropout||Drama||1||2022||Hulu (United States)
Disney+ Star Hub (International)
|The Full Monty||Comedy||1||TBA||FX on Hulu||FXP and Little Island Productions|
|History of the World, Part II||Sketch comedy||TBA||TBA||Hulu||20th Television|
|Untitled City of Ghosts series||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||ABC Signature|
|Untitled Inheritance Trilogy series||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA||Westbrook Studios|
|Never Let Me Go||Drama||TBA||TBA||FX||DNA TV and FXP|
In March 2019, the studio launched Searchlight Shorts, a collection of short films that the studio would acquire from upper-tier festivals and release on their YouTube channel. The first two films to be acquired by the studio for this collection were Shelly Lauman's Birdie and Guy Nattiv's Skin, the latter of which won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. Other acquisitions for the collection included A.V. Rockwell's Feathers, Matthew Puccini's Lavender, Freddy Macdonald's Sew Torn, Savanah Leaf and Taylor Russell's The Heart Still Hums and Julia Baylis and Sam Guest's Wiggle Room.
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Fox Animation (including Blue Sky Studios) will continue to be led by Co-Presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird.
- Littleton, Cynthia (November 7, 2019). "FX to Produce Original Series for Hulu as Brands Become More Closely Intertwined". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
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- Otterson, Joe (March 11, 2021). "'City of Ghosts' Series Adaptation in the Works at ABC Signature, Searchlight Television (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 12, 2021). "N.K. Jemisin's 'The Inheritance Trilogy' To Be Developed As TV Series By Searchlight TV & Westbrook Studios". Deadline Hollywood.
- Otterson, Joe (October 18, 2021). "'History of the World Part II' Variety Series Ordered at Hulu, Mel Brooks to Write and Executive Produce (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved October 19, 2021.
- Ramachandran, Naman (March 28, 2022). "'The Full Monty' Returns as Disney Plus Series With Original Cast and Creators". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
- "Film News Roundup: Fox Searchlight Launches Searchlight Shorts". March 19, 2019.
- "Searchlight Acquires Sundance Short Film 'Wiggle Room'". March 3, 2021.
- "Fox Searchlight Acquires Freddy Macdonald 'Sew Torn' Short". March 4, 2019.