Breaking the Sundance Film Festival sales record might be becoming an annual tradition.

Apple has shelled out a reported $25 million to acquire the festival's opening-day sensation CODA, marking the most expensive acquisition in Sundance history. The previous record was set just last year, when Neon and Hulu paid $22 million to acquire Palm Springs.

Written and directed by Siân Heder (2016's Tallulah), CODA follows a teenage girl named Ruby (Locke & Key's Emilia Jones) who is the only hearing person in her family (all played by deaf actors, including Oscar winner Marlee Matlin) and dreams of becoming a singer. The film, which was on EW's Must List for this year's virtual edition of the indie festival, has received largely glowing reviews in the wake of its premiere.

Sundance 2021
Emilia Jones in 'CODA.'
| Credit: Sundance Institute

Those reviews reportedly sparked a bidding war for the film, with Netflix and Amazon expressing interest. Apple ultimately won the worldwide rights, putting CODA on the path to debut on its streaming service Apple TV+.

"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," Heder said in a statement.

"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," she added. "The world has waited too long for these stories to be told. Now is the time. No more excuses."

Last year, Palm Springs set a new Sundance sales record that was first reported to have beat the previous most expensive acquisition by 69 cents. However, later reports put the actual value of the deal at $22 million, news that was no doubt disappointing to star Andy Samberg.

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