Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) , whose movie studio's earnings fell by 45% in the first six months of its fiscal year, got a shot in the arm when musical La La Land waltzed away on Sunday night with the largest haul of Golden Globes, making it the front-runner to walk away with the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The film, which stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as star-crossed lovers in Los Angeles, collected seven statues, including those for Best Musical or Comedy and for both of its actors. The movie had led all films with seven nominations.
21st Century Fox (FOXA) - Get Fox Corporation Class A Report was the big winner in the TV category. Atlanta, a comedy on its FX channel, won two Globes, including for Best Comedy. Its FX drama The People v.O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story was named Best Miniseries.
The Crown, the story of a young Queen Elizabeth II, won two Globes and was named Best Drama. The series was produced by Sony Pictures (SNE) - Get Sony Corp. Report for Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report .
Moonlight, a low-budget film centered on the Atlanta drug world, was named Best Drama. It was distributed to theaters by A24, an independent studio created with seed money from investment firm Guggenheim Partners.
Lions Gate's marketing plan for La La Land, which was made for only $30 million, banked in part on generating buzz by gathering nominations and awards. Its outsized collection of Globes positions it as the favorite to collect a hefty number of the far more visible Academy Award nominations, for which ballots close on Friday. Those nominations are to be announced on Jan. 24.
The studio opened La La Land in a handful of theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 9 to qualify for the awards and stoked critics' attention by showing it at the Venice Film Festival in August and other film events.
Taking advantage of Sunday's Golden Globe telecast on NBC, Lions Gate two days earlier doubled the number of theaters showing it, from 750 to 1,515. Lions Gate also plans to increase the number of theaters over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend starting this Friday and again after the Oscar nominations.
"We'll go as wide as it merits," Lions Gate distribution chief David Spitz told Variety. "We have tremendous momentum heading into the rest of the awards season."
La La Land has collected $51.7 million in domestic ticket sales, according to audience measurement firm Comscore.
Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report which launched a movie studio in 2010, scored a Golden Globe for its bleak drama Manchester by the Sea, for which star Casey Affleck was named Best Actor. The online retailer paid $10 million for the U.S. rights to the film, which it distributed with Roadside Attractions, an independent studio in which Lions Gate has a minority interest. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was among those in the Beverly Hilton ballroom when the Globes were announced.
One of Amazon's TV shows, Goliath, also picked up a Best Actor award for Billy Bob Thornton's portrayal of a washed-up lawyer trying to redeem himself.
In one other notable result, The Night Manager, a British series based on a John le Carre spy novel, won three Globes for its leads, Tom Hiddleston and Olivia Colman, and for Hugh Laurie as Best Supporting Actor. The show was produced jointly by the BBC and AMC Networks (AMCX) - Get AMC Networks Inc. Class A Report , which aired the drama in the U.S.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held a position in Netflix.