Setting a record at Sundance, Fox Searchlight has paid $17.5 million to acquire worldwide rights to Birth of a Nation, a film that is thankfully not a remake of the wildly racist 1915 film of the same name. Somehow, we haven't resorted to that yet.
THIS Birth of a Nation is a drama about the 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner, and it reportedly sent The Weinstein Company, Paramount, Sony, Netflix, and Fox Searchlight into a bidding war.
Though Searchlight won with its massive deal, it's said Netflix actually bid even higher, offering $20 million but getting turned down due to the company's demand for a day-and-date theatrical and streaming debut. Turns out, money can't buy everything. At least not if there's already record-breaking amounts of money being offered for slightly fewer demands.
Beyond the Lights star Nate Parker wrote and directed the film, and also stars alongside Armie Hammer, Penelope Ann Miller, Jackie Earle Haley, and Mark Boone Junior. Expect it to be a big awards contender next year, when it will be cited as an example of how the Oscars don't have a race issue, then get counter-cited as the exception that proves the rule of there definitely being a race issue, and then it won't be able to win nor lose without being a big statement one way or another.