Apple breaks Sundance record with $25 million acquisition of the movie 'Coda,' outbidding Netflix and Amazon

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Apple breaks Sundance record with $25 million acquisition of the movie 'Coda,' outbidding Netflix and Amazon
Emilia Jones appears in "CODA" by Siân Heder, an official selection of the US Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.Courtesy of Sundance Institute.
  • Apple reportedly agreed to pay a record $25 million for "CODA," a Sundance hit.
  • Apple won a bidding war that included Netflix and Amazon, Variety reported.
  • Hulu and Neon paid $22 million for "Palm Springs" at the festival last year.

Apple Studios reportedly agreed to pay a record $25 million for "CODA," a breakout hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival, winning a bidding war against Netflix and Amazon.

After the digital premiere of "CODA" on Friday, the festival's opening night, the three companies each showed interest during a bidding war, according to Variety. Netflix backed out of the bidding, because it already has a full roster of films to release in 2021, the trade publication reported.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Apple breaks Sundance record with $25 million acquisition of the movie 'Coda,' outbidding Netflix and Amazon
Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg in "Palm Springs."Neon

The "CODA" purchase broke Sundance's previous record, set last year when Hulu and Neon paid about $22 million for Andy Samberg's "Palm Springs."

The initial deal for that film was for $17.5 million and 69 cents, placing it 69 cents above the previous record. With total costs and fees, the deal was closer to $22 million.

Read more: Netflix is the streaming leader, but its US market share shrank in 2020 as competitors like Disney Plus and HBO Max emerged

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Apple Studios has picked up a series of high-profile movies since its launch, although it stumbled with one of its first big premieres, "The Banker." The company in 2019 cancelled the premiere of that movie, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Anthony Mackie, after concerns were raised about one of its real-life subjects.

In the last year, Apple TV has premiered "On The Rocks," from director Sofia Coppola, along with films starring Tom Hanks, Justin Timberlake, and The Beastie Boys.

Apple's reported newest addition, "CODA," written and directed by Siân Heder, is the story of a 17-year-old daughter of a fisherman. Its title stands for "Child of Deaf Adults," as the main character is the only hearing person in her family, according to Heder.

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Netflix accounted for about 34% of the streaming market in the US in the last quarter of 2020, but its dominance has shrunk with the rise of Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV, and others.

Apple TV had a relatively small piece of the pie, sharing 2% of the market with NBC's Peacock and other smaller streamers, according to data from Antenna.

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