But with Walt Disney Co.'s pending acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox, the art house studio now faces the biggest change in its history, one that has some people in the indie business concerned about its fate under new ownership.
Although it is believed to account for a relatively small share of 20th Century Fox revenue — executives won't disclose finances — Searchlight lends cachet to the studio and is an important draw for talent.
Over the years, Searchlight has mastered the art of the platform release, which involves slowly rolling out a title across screens and gradually building audience awareness, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore.
Fox Searchlight financed the $19.5 million "The Shape of Water," joining the project in the pre-script phase after visiting director Guillermo del Toro at his home and seeing an early maquette of the movie's supernatural aquaman.
Searchlight paid a reported $9.5 million for the rap-drama "Patti Cake$" — the company hasn't officially confirmed the figure — but the movie, which debuted in August, only grossed a small fraction of that in cinemas.
- Box Office: 'The Post,' 'Shape Of Water' And 'Three Billboards' Helps Fox Rule ...Forbes
- With 20 Oscar nods, Searchlight shows its value to DisneyWashington Post
- 'Shape of Water' Sees Surge in Fandango Sales Following 13 Oscar NominationsVariety
- 'The Shape of Water' Oscar Bump Leads Fandango Recent SurgeThe Slanted
- 'The Shape of Water' Earns Biggest Oscar Bump in Fandango Ticket SalesTheWrap
- Noon update: Breezy afternoon, oscar nominations and Super Bowl data bankQuad City Times
- Oscars: Nominees Banking on the Biggest Box-Office BumpHollywood Reporter