The light shines brightly on this specialty film division of Fox Filmed Entertainment. Rather than produce big-budget blockbusters, Fox Searchlight Pictures produces smaller specialized films in genres such as drama, comedy, horror, and science fiction. Notable titles in the Fox Searchlight canon include successful indie films such as Little Miss Sunshine, Napoleon Dynamite, and Boys Don't Cry. More recent movies include Cyrus and Crazy Heart. Fox Searchlight was founded in 1994 by Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-Chairman Tom Rothman as the independent arm of Twentieth Century Fox. It has its own marketing and distribution operations. International distribution is handled by Twentieth Century Fox.
Fox Searchlight has made a name for itself as the dominant player in the shrinking world of independent film. Each year, the unit produces movies with budgets of less than $15 million. The company is still basking in critical and commercial success of a few breakout hits that include Crazy Heart, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Wrestler. (Juno and The Wrestler each earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture in 2008 and 2009, respectively, while Slumdog took home the top prize in 2009. Jeff Bridges won Best Actor in 2010 for his role in Crazy Heart.)
The studio is led by co-presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley. In 2009 Peter Rice, the man responsible for Fox Searchlight's advance to the top of the indie film market, left Fox Searchlight to become entertainment chairman of Fox Networks Group. – less