Searchlight Pictures, Inc. (or simply Searchlight) is an American film studio that is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company. Founded in 1994 as Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., the studio focuses primarily on producing, distributing and acquiring specialty films.
|Searchlight Pictures Corporation|
|Formerly||Fox Searchlight Pictures (1994–2020)|
|Headquarters||10201 West Pico Boulevard|
Building 38, 1st Floor,
Number of locations
|David Greenbaum (Co-President)|
Matthew Greenfield (Co-President)
Number of employees
|Parent||Walt Disney Studios|
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, and Jojo Rabbit. The studio has grossed over $5.3 billion worldwide and amassed 26 Golden Globe Awards, 47 BAFTA awards, and 43 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.
Prior to the creation of Searchlight, Twentieth 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, Twentieth Century Fox executives decided to emulate the commercial success of Disney's newly acquired Miramax studio. In 1994 Twentieth 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 Twentieth 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 Twentieth 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.
As of November 2019, FX 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 favor of distancing it from the separate Fox Corporation.
Since 1994, Searchlight Pictures has accumulated 164 Academy Award nominations with 43 wins (including five Best Picture winners since 2009), 117 Golden Globe nominations with 26 wins, 173 BAFTA nominations with 47 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.
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. 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 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.
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