This morning’s astounding $17.5 million worldwide rights deal on Nate Parker’s The Birth Of A Nation came down to what one would call the usual suspects that would bid big bucks for a hot festival film — except for one surprise bidder that matched the $20 million bid by Netflix. That was Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, which matched that top bid, but watched Fox Searchlight walk away with the prize film of the festival.

byron allenReached for comment, Allen confirmed it: “Yes, we did make a bid for $20 million and a wide theatrical release for this outstanding film. Nate Parker made the right decision by going with Fox Searchlight, and we made the right bid. I’m very proud of Nate, and he owes me lunch.”