Apple has emerged victorious in a record-setting bidding war for the film CODA. The movie attracted plenty of attention at the 2021 virtual Sundance Film Festival, which led to Apple paying $US25 million (over $32 million) for the rights.
As reported by Deadline, Apple paid just over $32 million for the worldwide rights to CODA. This breaks the Sundance acquisitions record from last year which saw Hulu pay $US22.5 million (over $29 million in Australian dollars) for Palm Springs.
Netflix and Amazon were just some of the companies that vied for the rights to CODA. The bidding war escalated after the film premiered to absolute rave reviews on opening night.
Apple eventually won the day, snapping up another award-winning potential title alongside the likes of Tom Hanks’ Greyhound and Tom Holland’s Cherry.
What is CODA about?
So why did this film spark a $32 million bidding war?
CODA is a coming-of-age film from writer/director Siân Heder, based on the French film La Famille Bélier. It follows Ruby Rossi, the only hearing member of a deaf family. As a vital point of connection for her family to the outside world, Ruby is torn between staying at home to support her parents or following her dreams and love of music.
The first reviews of CODA (which is an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults) praised it for its crowd-pleasing nature and emotionally touching moments. It sounds like awards might also be in star Emilia Jones’ future.
CODA is a huge step for representation, featuring deaf actors in prominent roles telling an authentic story rarely heard.
In response to the Apple sale, Siân Heder said:
“I have been so moved by the outpouring of response to the film and am so excited to have found a partner in Apple that loves and deeply gets this movie, the spirit in which it was created and is committed to having this film reach the widest audience possible in a thoughtful and meaningful way… I hope that this film and Apple’s powerful support will help kick down some doors standing in the way of inclusion and representation and pave a path for more stories that center characters from the Deaf and Disabled community. The world has waited too long for these stories to be told.”
Apple hasn’t set a release date for CODA yet and it’s currently unknown whether it will get a cinema release or a sole streaming release on Apple TV+.