Apple TV+ buys 'Cha Cha Real Smooth' for $15 million at Sundance

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in "Cha Cha Real Smooth" (source: Sundance)

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Apple TV+ has turned again to the Sundance Film Festival, making this year's biggest deal for writer/director Cooper Raiff's "Cha Cha Real Smooth" movie.

In 2021, Apple paid $25 million to outbid rivals vying for that year's Virtual Sundance Film Festival hit, "CODA." Now while it's paid $10 million less for "Cha Cha Real Smooth," the sum was still the highest paid for any movie bought by streamers or distributors at the festival.

According to Deadline, Raiff wrote and directed the film, and also stars in it as a New Jersey college graduate. Apple is said to have been the front runner to buy the film since the Festival premiered it on January 23.

Unlike many recent film deals for Apple, this is an acquisition of a completed movie, rather than a production or development deal. Consequently Apple TV+ could choose to air it at any time, although it's not known if the deal includes any theatrical release prior to streaming.

"CODA" was bought in January 2021 and streamed by Apple from August 2021. That had a specified short theatrical window, and was notable for being the first movie in theaters to have subtitles burned into the film print.