Hulu Acquires Sundance Comedy `Joshy' in Deeper Push Into Films

  • Lions Gate to release the film in theaters before streaming
  • Purchase from festival highlights drive for exclusive movies

Hulu LLC jointly acquired North American rights to “Joshy,” obtaining exclusive streaming rights to the comedy after its January debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

Hulu, owned by 21st Century Fox Inc., Walt Disney Co. and Comcast Corp., bought the rights with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., which will release the film in theaters before it moves to the streaming service, the company said Tuesday.

The deal marks the first time Hulu has obtained exclusive rights to stream a movie right after it leaves theaters. It’s also the company’s first acquisition from a major film festival. Hulu is spending more money on exclusive movies to increase subscribers and differentiate itself from Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. The company already offers older movies from studios, and is looking for rights to pictures once they leave theaters.

Hulu’s approach to releasing this film mirrors that of Amazon and cable networks like CNN, which have teamed with traditional theatrical distributors to release movies in cinemas first. Netflix released “Beasts of No Nation” on its streaming service at the same time the movie appeared in theaters, and bypassed cinemas all together for the Adam Sandler comedy “The Ridiculous 6.”

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