Even before today, Netflix had already emerged as the big man on campus at Sundance 2017, having acquired nine films out of the festival—more than any other company. Today, Netflix took things one step further by closing the biggest deal yet this year. The company bought Pariah director Dee Rees' Mudbound, one of the hottest acquisition titles, for $12.5 million. This surpassed Amazon's $12 million acquisition of The Big Sick, now the second-largest deal of the festival this year.
Mudbound premiered to a rousing standing ovation at Sundance. Set in 1940's rural Mississippi, the film tells the story of two families pitted against a rigid social hierarchy.
"Newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis," Sundance's synopsis reads, "the McAllans are underprepared and overly hopeful for Henry's grandiose farming dreams while Laura strives to keep the faith in her husband's losing venture. For Hap and Florence Jackson, whose families have worked the land for generations, every day is a losing venture as they struggle bravely to build some small dream of their own. The war upends both families, as their returning loved ones, Jamie and Ronsel, forge a fast, uneasy friendship that challenges them all."
The film is based on Hillary Jordan's 2009 novel of the same name and stars Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Carey Mulligan, Rob Morgan, and Mary J. Blige.
Though Netflix's buy marks the biggest acquisition at Sundance this year, its terms are significantly lower than last year's biggest deal, which saw Fox Searchlight buy The Birth of a Nation for $17.5 million.
Netflix will release Mudbound with a day and date model—in theaters and on the streaming service simultaneously—later this year, presumably in time for awards season.
For more, see our complete coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.No Film School's video and editorial coverage of the 2017 Sundance Film Festival is sponsored by RODE Microphones.