Nate Parker’s “The Birth Of A Nation” Sold To Fox Searchlight For $17.5 Million



Since the Oscar nominees were announced a few weeks ago, Hollywood has been in a great turmoil due to the absence of non-white nominees. Tinseltown is now, logically, looking to invest in a prestige-minded movie that features racially diverse actors.

Unlike the hundred-year-old motion picture of the same name by David Griffith, themed around the Civil War, ”The Birth of a Nation” is, almost ironically, about the slave rebellion in the U.S. Nate Parker wrote and directed the movie, but that’s not all: he is also the lead character. The film premiered on Monday and was an instant success among critics. The next day, a bidding war for the film ensued – one that was won by Fox Searchlight for an incredible $17.5 million.

According to an anonymous source involved in the sale, Netflix and Amazon also made offers, with Netflix offering an even more lavish figure than Fox. In the end, it seems that Parker’s enthusiasm to show the film in theaters as soon as possible tipped the balance in favor of Fox.

21st Century Fox’s specialty studio is well known as a powerhouse within the Academy Awards, as it brought “12 Years a Slave” a total of nine nominations two years ago, among which three won an award. The studio financed last year’s best picture winner “Birdman” as well.

the-birth-of-a-nation.26554.16612_BirthofaNatioThe film was praised by both presidents of Fox Searchlight, Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley, who stated that Parker’s “dedication and artistry in revitalizing Nat Turner’s legacy and place in history has resulted in an extraordinarily compelling and moving film that delivers on every level.”

The story follows Nat Turner, an educated, kind preacher who just happens to be a slave. Turner is exposed to several severe acts of violence and injustice, some of them including watching an overseer knock the teeth out of a disobedient slave with a hammer. Disgusted by this, Turner organizes a rebellion of slaves in the antebellum South, which is met by extreme retaliation from military officers and plantation owners that the former is tasked with protecting.

The film is likely to join the subgenre of films about slavery, a subgenre that has been supported by Oscar voters for quite some time now.

In addition to ”12 Years a Slave,” Steven Spielberg’sAmistad” was nominated for four Academy Awards 18 years ago, as well as Tarantino’sDjango Unchained,” which received a total of five nominations in 2013.

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