Mike Leigh Got Away with Murder with ‘Peterloo,’ But Lost Amazon a Ton of Money

Mike Leigh Got Away with Murder with ‘Peterloo,’ But Lost Amazon a Ton of Money
After years of talking to Mike Leigh, whether at the Carlton Beach at Cannes, on a gondola at Telluride, or a plush hotel suite in Toronto, I’ve gotten used to being reminded that — in his eyes — I don’t know enough about his movies. That’s how he rolls.

Here’s what I do know: At age 76, Leigh has delivered the most ambitious, gorgeous, and expensive period recreation of his storied career, “Peterloo.” And, at $18 million, the film stood very little chance of making money for Amazon Studios. While he is deeply respected as one of the finest living auteurs with his exacting and unique creative process, his top-grossing movie was “Secrets & Lies,” back in 1996. That film, which received five Oscar nominations for October Films, made $26.4 million in today’s dollars — and it was released more than two decades ago, when independent films occupied a different place in our culture.
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