Amazon Prime’s catalog is going to add one of the biggest fish of this past awards season. Casey Affleck took home for his leading performance in the drama Manchester by the Sea, and writer/director Kenneth Lonergan also nabbed a Best Original Screenplay trophy. It also earned nominations — but not wins — for Best Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Lucas Hedges), Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), and Best Director. It’s also the sort of flick that not everyone would seek out in theaters — if it was even playing in their area. Now any curious Amazon Prime customers will get the chance to see what the hype is about, as Manchester by the Sea will hit the Prime streaming catalog on May 5.
Manchester stars Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, a troubled janitor living in Massachusetts. His life is flipped, turned upside down after his brother dies — and leaves Lee to be guardian of his teenage son (Hedges). Needless to say, this is not an eventuality Lee was prepared for in his life. His own history is riddled with tragedy, and Lee has dealt with that primarily via substance abuse and getting into bar fights. Not exactly an ideal father figure. Friday Night Lights‘ Kyle Chandler plays Lee’s older brother, Joe, and Michelle Williams plays Randi, Lee’s ex-wife. Here’s the trailer for Manchester by the Sea.
Amazon Studios snatched up the rights to Manchester by the Sea after it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016. The flick opened in limited release last November, before going wide for the holidays in December 2016. This release pattern is proving to be pretty much standard for the films Amazon Studios partners or produces. The theatrical release unfolds like normal, then the films eventually turn up on Amazon Prime some months later. This is very different from Netflix’s approach with its original films, which often open in theaters on the same day they hit the streaming service.
Amazon is on a roll lately with awards bait. In addition to adding Manchester by the Sea at the beginning of the month, Amazon Prime will become the exclusive streaming home for the Academy Award-winning Moonlight beginning on May 21.