Apple Studios has set a Sundance record by paying more than $25 million for CODA, a hit movie that was also reportedly sought by competitors Netflix and Amazon. With this purchase, Apple has achieved the worldwide exclusive rights to the feature film, which is expected to launch on the company’s Apple TV+ streaming service.
CODA, which stands for ‘child of deaf adults,’ is a feature film starring Emilia Jones as Ruby Rossi, a hearing girl born into a deaf family of fishermen. As the only person in the home who can hear, Ruby plays has an important role in her family’s lives — making it hard for her to pursue her dream when given the chance at a scholarship.
According to Deadline, which broke the news, Apple’s CODA purchase marks the first big virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival sale — also setting a new record for a Sundance acquisition, eclipsing the $22.5 million paid for Palm Springs. The report claims the movie acquisition came down to Amazon and Apple, with Apple obviously winning in the end.
The movie has proven popular with viewers and critics alike, making it a hot acquisition for Apple. It remains unclear at this time when the movie will be made available, though presumably, it will launch on the Apple TV+ streaming service. In a statement about the deal, CODA writer and director Sian 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. The whole CODA team is also so grateful to Sundance for being a part of the film’s journey. 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. Now is the time. No more excuses.