Magazine article Variety

Yo, Bob Iger, about Fox Searchlight

Magazine article Variety

Yo, Bob Iger, about Fox Searchlight

Article excerpt

Let's hear it for the indies!

I hope one of Bob Iger's first phone calls Tuesday morning was to the leaders of Fox Searchlight to congratulate them on "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" collecting a total of 20 Oscar nominations - more than any other distributor, including all the major studios.

It would be a welcome outreach given how tense times are for the executives at Searchlight, as their jobs hang in the balance with the pending sale of major 21st Century Fox assets to Disney. One lingering question about the $52.4 billion acquisition is what will become of Searchlight? When the deal was announced in mid- December, Iger expressed his support for prestige, adult-audience movies and said he was impressed by Searchlight's recent output. However, he remained noncommittal about whether the division, run by co-presidents Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula, would continue to operate as a distinct label within Disney.

Searchlight has a solid track record at the box office and the Oscars, with such best picture wins as "12 Years a Slave," "Birdman" and "Slumdog Millionaire. …

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