Sundance: Netflix Nabbing Zac Efron Ted Bundy Drama 'Extremely Wicked' for $9M (Exclusive)
The streaming giant proved to be a natural fit, given that director Joe Berlinger already has a docuseries about the serial killer on the platform.
Though Sundance officially wrapped Sunday, the dealmaking continues: Netflix is closing in on a deal for U.S. and some international rights to the drama Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, starring Zac Efron as notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. A source pegged the deal at a staggering $9 million.
Directed by Joe Berlinger — the Oscar-nominated helmer behind Paradise Lost, who excels in the true-crime genre — the film chronicles the crimes of Ted Bundy from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who refused to believe the truth about him for years. Lily Collins plays Kloepfer, while Haley Joel Osment, Kaya Scodelario, John Malkovich, Jim Parsons and Angela Sarafyan round out the cast.
Extremely Wicked sparked a late-fest bidding war that also involved STX and Lionsgate. Netflix will give the pic an awards-season theatrical run in the fall. Sky Cinema has acquired rights to the film in the U.K.
The Michael Werwie-penned film made its world premiere Jan. 26 at the Eccles Theatre in Park City and drew raves. In his review of the movie, The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy wrote, "Efron flies higher than ever here, investing his character with an illusory confidence that's entertaining even when the character and legal charges fully live up to the film's title." Netflix proved to be a natural fit, given that Berlinger already has the hit docuseries Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes with the streamer that covers the same subject.
The deal marks the first narrative feature buy for Netflix at this year's Sundance market. The streaming giant also bought docs like the Participant Media-backed American Factory and the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez campaign chronicle Knock Down the House.
Extremely Wicked was produced by Nicolas Chartier, Michael Costigan, Ara Keshishian and Michael Simkin. Executive producers included Jason Barrett, Berlinger, Jonathan Deckter and Michael Werwie.
CAA Media Finance and UTA negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers. Voltage is handling international sales.