Searchlight Pictures

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Fox Searchlight)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Searchlight Pictures, Inc.
FormerlyFox Searchlight Pictures (1994–2020)
Founded1994; 28 years ago (1994)
FounderThomas Rothman[1]
Headquarters10201 West Pico Boulevard, ,
Area served
Key people
  • David Greenbaum (Co-President)[3]
  • Matthew Greenfield (Co-President)[3]
  • Frank Rodriguez (Senior Vice President of Distribution)[3]
ProductsMotion pictures
Number of employees
Parent20th 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.[4]

Searchlight Pictures was one of the 21st Century Fox film production companies that was acquired by Disney on March 20, 2019. The studio's current name was adopted on January 17, 2020.


Before creation of Searchlight[edit]

1997 logo used as Fox Searchlight Pictures.

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.[5]

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.[6][1] 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.[7][8]

First years[edit]

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).[9] 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.[10]

In 2006, a companion label, Fox Atomic, was created to produce and/or distribute genre films.[11] Fox Atomic closed down in 2009.[12]

21st Century Fox era[edit]

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.[13][14]

Fox Stage Productions was formed in June 2013.[15] The creation of 21st Century Fox was completed on June 28, 2013.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19]

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.[20] To replace Morrison at Fox Animation, Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird were named co-presidents of 20th Century Fox Animation.[21]

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.[22]

Disney era[edit]

On December 14, 2017, The Walt Disney Company agreed to acquire most assets from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Searchlight, for $52.4 billion.[23] After a bid from Comcast (parent company of NBCUniversal) for $65 billion, Disney counterbid with $71.3 billion.[24] 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.[citation needed] On March 12, 2019, Disney announced it has set to close the Fox deal on March 20.[25][26] 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.[27][28] On the next day, the sale was completed.[29] After trying a day, Disney set film leadership lineup.[30]

As of November 2019, FX Networks and Fox Searchlight were assigned to supply Hulu with content.[31] 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.[32][7]

More recently, Nancy Utley has officially left Searchlight Pictures after six months, to launch Lake Ellyn Entertainment, and struck a first look deal with Chernin Entertainment.[33]

Film library[edit]


Since 1994, Searchlight Pictures has accumulated 164 Academy Award nominations with 44 wins (including five Best Picture winners since 2009),[34] 117 Golden Globe nominations with 26 wins,[35] 173 BAFTA nominations with 48 wins,[36] 66 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations with 12 wins,[37] 215 Critics Choice Award nominations with 55 wins,[38] and 137 Independent Spirit Awards nominations with 54 wins.[39]

Searchlight Television[edit]

Searchlight Television
FoundedApril 2018
ParentSearchlight Pictures

In April 2018, the studio launched Searchlight Television, broadening the variety of projects produced under the Searchlight banner. It is headed by David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield.[40][41]

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.[42] 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.[43][44] 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.[45]

Title Genre No. of
Years Network Co-production company
The Dropout[42] Drama 1 2022 Hulu (United States)
Disney+ Star Hub (International)
20th Television
The Full Monty[46] Comedy 1 TBA FX on Hulu FXP and Little Island Productions
History of the World, Part II[45] Sketch comedy TBA TBA Hulu 20th Television
Untitled City of Ghosts series[43] TBA TBA TBA TBA ABC Signature
Untitled Inheritance Trilogy series[44] TBA TBA TBA TBA Westbrook Studios
Never Let Me Go Drama TBA TBA FX DNA TV and FXP

Searchlight Shorts[edit]

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.[47][48][49]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Executive Profile: Thomas E. Rothman". Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  2. ^ "Company Overview of Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc".
  3. ^ a b c Matt Donnelly; Brent Lang (April 20, 2021). "Searchlight Pictures Co-Chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula to Step Down". Variety. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
  4. ^ "Slumdog Millionaire (2008)". Box Office Mojo.
  5. ^ Tzioumakis 2013, pp. 55–58.
  6. ^ Tzioumakis 2013, pp. 135.
  7. ^ a b Barnes, Brooks (January 17, 2020). "Disney Drops Fox From Names of Studios It Bought From Rupert Murdoch". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  8. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 17, 2020). "Fox Removed From 20th Century & Searchlight Logos As Disney Updates Labels". Deadline. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  9. ^ Tzioumakis 2013, pp. 141.
  10. ^ Tzioumakis 2013, pp. 134.
  11. ^ Walsh, Mark (July 20, 2006). "Fox Atomic Unveils Broadband Site". Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Miller, Ross (April 21, 2009). "20th Century Fox Closing Down Fox Atomic". Retrieved January 7, 2016.
  13. ^ Welch, Chris (May 9, 2013). "21st Century Fox logo unveiled ahead of News Corp split". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  14. ^ Rushe, Dominic (June 18, 2013). "Rupert Murdoch splits empire but keeps faith in tomorrow's newspapers". The Guardian. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  15. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (July 28, 2015). "Fox Names Isaac Robert Hurwitz To Head Live Theater Division". Deadline. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  16. ^ "News Corp officially splits in two". BBC News Online. June 28, 2013.
  17. ^ Cox, Gordon (August 8, 2013). "Kevin McCollum: Fox Finds Its Stage Coach". Variety. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  18. ^ Lang, Brent (September 20, 2017). "Fox, Locksmith Animation Ink Multi-Year Production, Development Deal". Variety Magazine. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  19. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (April 6, 2017). "Fox Acquires Virtual Production Firm Technoprops". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  20. ^ Lang, Brent (October 30, 2017). "Vanessa Morrison Named Head of Fox Family in Animation Division Overhaul". Variety. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  21. ^ Kilday, Gregg (October 30, 2017). "Fox Animation Names Andrea Miloro, Robert Baird Co-Presidents". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  22. ^ Stempel, Jonathan (November 27, 2018). "Disney, Fox deny claims in $1 billion Malaysia theme park lawsuit". Reuters. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  23. ^ Snider, Mike (December 14, 2017). "Disney to buy key 21st Century Fox assets for $52.4 billion". USA Today. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  24. ^ "Comcast bids $65 billion for 21st Century Fox assets, topping Disney". CNBC. June 13, 2018. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  25. ^ Hayes, Dade; Patten, Dominic (February 27, 2019). "Disney-Fox Deal Nears Final Approval After Progress In Brazil And Mexico". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  26. ^ Petski, Denise; Hayes, Dade (March 12, 2019). "Disney Sets March 20 Closing Date For 21st Century Fox Acquisition". Deadline. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  27. ^ Littleton, Cynthia; Steinberg, Brian (March 18, 2019). "Fox Corporation Emerges as Standalone Entity, Paul Ryan Joins Board". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  28. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (March 12, 2019). "Disney Sets March 20 Closing Date for 21st Century Fox Acquisition". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  29. ^ Szalai, Georg; Bond, Paul (March 20, 2019). "Disney Closes $71.3 Billion Fox Deal, Creating Global Content Powerhouse". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on March 20, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  30. ^ Hipes, Patrick (March 21, 2019). "After Trying Day, Disney Sets Film Leadership Lineup". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019. Fox Animation (including Blue Sky Studios) will continue to be led by Co-Presidents Andrea Miloro and Robert Baird.
  31. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (November 7, 2019). "FX to Produce Original Series for Hulu as Brands Become More Closely Intertwined". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  32. ^ Vary, Adam B. (January 17, 2020). "Disney Drops Fox Name, Will Rebrand as 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures". Variety. Retrieved January 17, 2020.
  33. ^ Donnelly, Matt (October 27, 2021). "Former Searchlight Chief Nancy Utley Enters First-Look Deal With Chernin, Netflix". Variety. Retrieved October 28, 2021.
  34. ^ "Browser Unsupported - Academy Awards Search | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences". Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  35. ^ "Winners & Nominees 2020". Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  36. ^ "BAFTA Awards". Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  37. ^ "The 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards | Screen Actors Guild Awards". Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  38. ^ "Critics Choice Awards | Critics Choice Awards". Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  39. ^ "History". Film Independent. Retrieved November 19, 2020.
  40. ^ Fleming, Mike (April 11, 2018). "Searchlight Launches TV Division; David Greenbaum, Matthew Greenfield Upped To Production Presidents For Film, TV". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  41. ^ Bradley, Laura. "What Searchlight's New TV Division Means for the Future of Prestige TV". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  42. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (April 10, 2019). "Hulu Orders 'The Dropout' Limited Series Starring Kate McKinnon As Elizabeth Holmes From Searchlight TV". Deadline. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  43. ^ a b Otterson, Joe (March 11, 2021). "'City of Ghosts' Series Adaptation in the Works at ABC Signature, Searchlight Television (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  44. ^ a b 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.
  45. ^ a b 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.
  46. ^ Ramachandran, Naman (March 28, 2022). "'The Full Monty' Returns as Disney Plus Series With Original Cast and Creators". Variety. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  47. ^ "Film News Roundup: Fox Searchlight Launches Searchlight Shorts". March 19, 2019.
  48. ^ "Searchlight Acquires Sundance Short Film 'Wiggle Room'". March 3, 2021.
  49. ^ "Fox Searchlight Acquires Freddy Macdonald 'Sew Torn' Short". March 4, 2019.


External links[edit]