In a record-setting purchase, Apple Studios has emerged as the winner of “CODA,” the virtual Sundance sensation about a young hearing girl who grapples with breaking away from her deaf family.
The Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht-led studio payed close to $25 million for the film, breaking last year’s recording setting “Palm Springs” sale at north of $22 million.
As Variety previously reported, rapturous audience response and glowing reviews powered the 2021 Sundance Day One premiere to a bidding war, which included interest from Netflix and Amazon. The latter was said to be keen on the upbeat tearjerker, Variety reported, but did not have the bandwidth to release the film in 2021 with their loaded slate.
Apple acquired worldwide rights on the project, and is said to be in the process of buying out pre-sold international territories that helped finance production.
CAA Media Finance, ICM and Pathe Films brokered the deal on behalf of the filmmakers, including writer-director Siân Heder (of the previous Sundance player “Tallulah”). The massive sale should quells any fears about the viability of Sundance as a sales market, despite the global pandemic.
Breakout lead Emilia Jones plays Ruby, the daughter of a charismatic and tight-knit deaf family on the coast of Massachusetts. Fishermen by birth for generations, Ruby is crucial to the daily lives of her clan as the only hearing person in the house. Her dream of singing leads to a scholarship opportunity that forces a life-changing choice.
Eugenio Derbez, Troy Kotsur, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Daniel Durant, Amy Forsyth, Kevin Chapman, and Marlee Matlin costar. Vendome Pictures and Pathe Films served as production houses. Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi, Patrick Wachsberger, and Jérôme Seydoux served as producers. Ardavan Safaee and Sarah Borch-Jacobsen were executive producers.
Deadline Hollywood was the first to report the news.
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