In the festival’s biggest purchase, Netflix bought domestic rights to Mudbound for $12.5 million at the closing of Sundance, Deadline reports. The film, by Dee Rees, opened to positive reviews on January 21, and the bidding war between buyers took the entire rest of the week. This buy slightly trumps Amazon’s biggest purchase at the beginning of the festival, Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick.
Mudbound follows a small southern town in post-WWII America in which two soldiers take the war home, where the opposition of two farming families face racism, social hierarchy, and a fight for the land. Rees and Virgil Williams adapted the story from the novel by Hillary Jordan. The movie stars Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan (Netflix’s Stranger Things), and Jonathan Banks (Wiseguy). This is Rees’ second time premiering at Sundance after she debuted in 2011 with Pariah.
Netflix is planning for a limited awards push at the end of the year in hopes of showcasing the film’s actors. Notably, Netflix’s deal is slightly above that of what rival Amazon ponied up for Sundance crowd-pleaser The Big Sick, which was picked up for $12 million. There were, reportedly, a host of distributors expressed interest in Mudbound, including A24 Films and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.