The Big Sick premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. A biding war for the distribution rights started between Sony, Focus Features, Amazon, & Netflix. Co-creator of the film, the not very successful Kumail Nanjiani, wanted the film to have theatrical distribution which eliminated Netflix from the bidding war because they’re not a proponent in that distribution model.
The film’s distribution rights were eventually bought for around $12 million by Amazon who is a big proponent of the theatrical experience, with all of its films getting at least some kind of theatrical run. The $12 million dollar deal is one of the largest deals in Sundance’s history. The $12 million that Amazon spend will undoubtedly be lost, as The Big Sick is DOA, at least theatrically.
Based on the real-life courtship between Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick (what an awful, ridiculous, unappealing title) tells the story of Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani), who connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of the late director Elia Kazan.) after one of his standup sets. However, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing, which complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents.
When Emily is beset with a mystery illness, it forces Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he’s never met, while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.