Apple lands 'CODA' for $25 million in record Sundance Film Festival deal

Coda Hero
Coda Hero (Image credit: Sundance Film Festival)

What you need to know

  • Apple has landed CODA, a coming-of-age drama from Siân Heder.
  • The company paid a record $25 million for worldwide streaming rights for the film.

As reported by Deadline, Apple has landed worldwide rights to CODA, a coming-of-age drama premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. According to the deal, Apple won out in bidding against Amazon and has paid $25 million, a new record for the festival.

Writer-director Siân Heder's coming-of-age drama is about a high school senior who is the only hearing person in her deaf family and is torn between holding together that unit or seeking her own dreams. The film premiered opening night in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Buyers loved it, and it became clear yesterday that its value to distributors was heading into the stratosphere, after receiving glowing reviews and reaction from buyers. Multiple offers were on the table and brought the bidding close to Palm Springs territory. That was the Andy Samberg-Cristin Milioti movie that broke the Sundance sales record last year with $22.5 million.

CODA tells the story of Ruby, a singer who finds herself trying to achieve her dream while not abandoning her parents and their struggling fishing business. In its review, WhattoWatch says that the film "tugs at the right heartstrings."

The film (the title's acronym is for Child of Deaf Adults) centers on Ruby (Emilia Jones), the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, she finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents. The pic is based on the award-winning French hit La famille belier. Jones is a real discovery and the film is a bonafide crowd pleaser with heart and awards potential. Heder has captured the fishing scene in Boston, and the love of classic Motown and Joni Mitchell and Marvin Gaye, whose songs are broken down and connect you to the messages within them, and why they resonate with the characters navigating difficult circumstances.

Siân Heder, the writer/director of the film, says that she hopes that the film premiering worldwide on Apple TV+ "help(s) 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."

"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."

It is currently unclear when CODA will premiere on Apple TV+.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.