Worldwide rights to actor-director Nate Parker’s slave-rebellion drama The Birth of a Nation, were picked up by Fox Searchlight at the Sundance Film Festival for $17.5 million, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, which premiered Monday afternoon in Park City, Utah, to multiple standing ovations, has become the highest price paid for a film at Sundance.
Fox Searchlight beat escalating bids from The Weinstein Co., Netflix (which insisted on a day-and-date theatrical and streaming debut), Paramount and other suitors, according to THR. Netflix and its deep pockets reportedly helped drive up the bids of “Birth” in the overnight auction.
Parker wrote, directed and stars in the project, which is based on the story of Nat Turner, an American-born slave who led the most successful slave rebellion in American history.
When Birth premiered Monday at Eccles Center, there was a standing ovation that lasted throughout the entire credits. It continued as Parker, who also produced the film, took the stage for the Q&A.
“I made this film for one reason — with the hope of creating change agents,” Parker told the audience. That people can watch this film and be affected. That you can watch this film and see that there were systems that were in place that were corrupt and corrupted people and the legacy of that still lives with us. I just want you, if you are affected and you are so moved, to ask yourself, ‘Are there systems in my life that need attention, whether it be racial, gender?’ There are a lot of injustices.”
Soon after, several buyers were in the mix, with expectations that the bidding could likely become the highest of this year’s fest. A heated bidding war went on through the night, with at least seven interested parties, including several studios.
As THR previously reported, Parker quit acting for nearly two years to work on getting financing for Birth, which also stars Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley and Gabrielle Union.
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Singers & Rappers Turned Actors
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Alicia Keys was smokin' hot in the 2006 movie 'Smokin' Aces' and was also on 'Empire'.
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2. Jill Scott made her acting debut in the fourth season of 'Girlfriends.'
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3. 50 Cent lost 54 pounds in order to portray his emaciated character in the film 'All Things Fall Apart.'
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4. Snoop Dogg has become an enduring fixture on the big and small screen.
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5. Mos Def starred in 'Monster’s Ball,' '16 Blocks,' 'The Italian Job,' 'The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy' and 'Be Kind Rewind' and more.
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6. LL Cool J has been in several movies and co-stars on the popular television series 'NCIS Los Angeles.'
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7. T.I. had a supporting role in 'American Gangster and was one of the lead characters in 'Takers.'
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8. DMX has parlayed his rough, rugged, and raw presence into appearances in several movies.
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9. Common has been a popular actor in films like 'Smokin' Aces' and "Just Wright.'
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10. Andre 3000 has made numerous guest appearances on television and he scored the lead role in the Jimi Hendrix biopic.
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11. Lenny Kravitz is best known for music but has done several movies and is now on the TV show 'Star.'
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12. Ludacris was in 2 Fast 2 Furious but got rave reviews for 'Crash'.
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13. Eminem turned to acting in the movie '8 Mile' which was loosely based on his life.
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14. Whitney sizzled on the silver screen in 'The Bodyguard' and 'The Preacher's Wife.'
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15. Ice-T found success in 'Law and Order SVU' as Detective Tutuola.
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16. Beyonce starred in 'Dreamgirls' and alongside Idris Alba in 'Obsessed.'
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17. We watched Will Smith grow up on 'Fresh Prince of Bel Air' and then become a global movie star.
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18. Jennifer Hudson got an Oscar for 'Dreamgirls' in her very first film role.
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19. Ice Cube hit it big with his first major motion picture role in 'Boyz n the Hood.'
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20. Queen Latifah made her acting debut with a role in 'Jungle Fever.'
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21. Tupac Shakur starred in 'Juice' & 'Poetic Justice.'
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22. We all remember Drake from the high school TV show 'Degrassi.'
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23. Bow Wow starred in 'Bounce', 'Lottery Ticket', & 'The Fast & The Furious : Tokyo Drift'
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24. Method Man had winning roles in HBO's 'The Wire', the films 'How High' & 'Red Tails.'
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25. Nicki Minaj starred in 'Barber Shop: The Next Cut' as Draya
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