Early Tuesday morning-likely in the wee morning hours-writer/director/star Nate Parker’s movie The Birth of a Nation sold to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million at the Sundance Film Festival.
Prior to the sale, both the Weinstein Company and Netflix both attempted to secure the picture, with Netflix reportedly offering a bold $20 million for the movie.
It’s a huge deal, both literally and figuratively-one that tops a crazy week of Sundance acquisitions that has seen streaming giants Netflix and Amazon flexing their film-buying muscles like Draymond Green.
Netflix got started before the film festival even began, nabbing the Ellen-Page-starring Tallulah for an undisclosed amount.
The Academy has responded, promising to bring more diversity to its ranks, but the Academy can only nominate films if they’re released, making Birth of a Nation that much more attractive.
That’s not to say that Parker’s film, which focuses on the 1831 slave rebellion lead by Nat Turner and features a largely black cast, isn’t a tour de force in its own right.
While many have praised streaming services for doing things studios won’t what we’re learning this week is that backing a film like Chi-Raq may not be solely the provence of streaming services for long.